Google: Software is never going to be able to fix Spectre-type bugs

Researchers also devise a Spectre-like attack with no known mitigation.

Google: Software is never going to be able to fix Spectre-type bugs

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Researchers from Google investigating the scope and impact of the Spectre attack have published a paper asserting that Spectre-like vulnerabilities are likely to be a continued feature of processors and, further, that software-based techniques for protecting against them will both impose a high performance cost. In any case, the researchers continue, the software will be inadequate—some Spectre flaws don't appear to have any effective software-based defense. As such, Spectre is going to be a continued feature of the computing landscape, with no straightforward resolution.

The discovery and development of the Meltdown and Spectre attacks was undoubtedly the big security story of 2018. First revealed last January, new variants and related discoveries were made throughout the rest of the year. Both attacks rely on discrepancies between the theoretical architectural behavior of a processor—the documented behavior that programmers depend on and write their programs against—and the real behavior of implementations.

Specifically, modern processors all perform speculative execution; they make assumptions about, for example, a value being read from memory or whether an if condition is true or false, and they allow their execution to run ahead based on these assumptions. If the assumptions are correct, the speculated results are kept; if it isn't, the speculated results are discarded and the processor redoes the calculation. Speculative execution is not an architectural feature of the processor; it's a feature of implementations, and so it's supposed to be entirely invisible to running programs. When the processor discards the bad speculation, it should be as if the speculation never even happened.

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Intel’s SGX blown wide open by, you guessed it, a speculative execution attack

Foreshadow explained in a video.[/url]
Another day, another speculative execution-based attack. Data protected by Intel’s SGX—data that’s meant to be protected even from a malicious or hacked kernel—can be read by an attacker thanks to leaks en…

Foreshadow explained in a video.[/url]

Another day, another speculative execution-based attack. Data protected by Intel's SGX—data that's meant to be protected even from a malicious or hacked kernel—can be read by an attacker thanks to leaks enabled by speculative execution.

Since publication of the Spectre and Meltdown attacks in January this year, security researchers have been taking a close look at speculative execution and the implications it has for security. All high-speed processors today perform speculative execution: they assume certain things (a register will contain a particular value, a branch will go a particular way) and perform calculations on the basis of those assumptions. It's an important design feature of these chips that's essential to their performance, and it has been for 20 years.

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Intel Finally Patches Critical AMT Bug (Kinda)

Intel finally patches the critical AMT bug discovered in March by security researcher Maksim Malyutin at Embedi, I say ‘kinda’ because it’s not really up to Intel to deploy the fix to the problem. They can’t really push out updates to CPUs, but…

Intel finally patches the critical AMT bug discovered in March by security researcher Maksim Malyutin at Embedi, I say ‘kinda’ because it’s not really up to Intel to deploy the fix to the problem. They can’t really push out updates to CPUs, but at least they have fixed it in the firmware and now the […] The post Intel Finally Patches...

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Intel Hidden Management Engine – x86 Security Risk?

So it seems the latest generation of Intel x86 CPUs have implemented a Intel hidden management engine that cannot be audited or examined. We can also assume at some point it will be compromised and security researchers are labelling this as a Ring -3 level vulnerability. This isn’t a new issue though, people have been […]

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So it seems the latest generation of Intel x86 CPUs have implemented a Intel hidden management engine that cannot be audited or examined. We can also assume at some point it will be compromised and security researchers are labelling this as a Ring -3 level vulnerability. This isn’t a new issue though, people have been […] The post Intel...

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