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All AMD processors released during the last 10 years have a critical vulnerability

A recent report by participants of a cyber security course mentions the presence of a flaw that makes it possible to extract sensitive information from AMD processors, manipulating the L1D cache predictor with two variants of different attack. Researchers claim that the vulnerability exists in all processor models that the company launched between 2011 and 2019, implying that Zen architecture is also compromised.

According to the researchers, the vulnerability in AMD is related to a side-channel approach, as is the case with the most dangerous variants of processor attacks. By deploying attacks based in Spectre, the experts, in the role of threat actors, were able to access information on the supposedly protected processor.

List of AMD deployments tested. The green check indicates that they use the vulnerable predictor

“Reverse engineering the L1D predictor on
architectures launched between 2011 and 2019, we discovered these two new
attack techniques,” the cyber security course members mention. The first
of these techniques, dubbed ‘Collide+Probe’, allows a threat
actor to monitor any access to the target user’s memory without knowing
locations in the system.

On the other hand, the second attack, called ‘Load+Reload’,
allows the predictor to be exploited to obtain traces of access to the victim’s
memory. This second attack is even more stealthy than the previous one, the
report mentions.  

Cyber security course participants were able to
exploit the flaw using JavaScript code run in Chrome
and Firefox
. In their research specialists mention that the
vulnerability could even be exploited to access cloud deployments. Although the
research outlines several possible ways to mitigate failure (based on a
combination of hardware and software improvements), the impact these solutions
would have on the performance of the affected devices is not yet
contemplated.  

After receiving the report, AMD issued a
message stating that no mitigation is necessary, as already released fixes to
prevent the exploitation of other side channel flaws are sufficient. However,
the researchers disagreed with the company’s position, stating that the active
exploitation of this flaw is a possibility that must be seriously considered.

According to the International Institute of Cyber
Security (IICS)
due to the complexity in the design and capabilities of
modern processors, it is a fact that all these devices contain security
vulnerabilities, all that’s left to do is keep working in the finding of those
security flaws before threat actors do so.

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