Researcher set to demo attack on Intel chips
Analyst: 'Serious' Kaspersky claim will entice hackers to find, exploit bugs in processors
Computerworld - The author of several security books is slated to demonstrate how he could take advantage of flaws in Intel Corp.'s chips to launch a remote attack against a computer -- regardless of what software platform it's running.
He also charged that such CPU bugs actually have damaged hard drives without users' knowledge.
"Although CPU bugs are not something new in the security industry, nobody has come out with any proof-of-concept exploits," wrote Kaspersky. "It is just a matter of time before we start seeing these sort of attacks used in more devastating ways over the Internet. Intel has provided work-arounds to major BIOS vendors for some of these bugs, but who knows which vendor actually uses them? End- users are in the dark as to how to check if they are secure or not. Intel doesn't provide any test program for this, and the worst thing is [that] some bugs are still not fixed. In other words, Intel has no work-around for it."
George Alfs, a spokesman for Intel, said he has not yet seen Kaspersky's research, nor has he spoken to him about it.
"We have evaluation teams always looking at issues. We'll certainly take a look at this one," said Alfs. "All chips have errata, and there could be an issue that needs to be checked. Possibly. We'd have to investigate his paper."
Alfs said the first step for Intel will be to get a copy of Kaspersky's paper and then discuss his research with him. Then Intel would conduct its own tests. He would not say whether Kaspersky contacted Intel before going public with his findings.
In his presentation summary, Kaspersky, who does not work for Kaspersky Lab, noted that some of the flaws that he will show off are exploitable via common instruction sequences and by knowing the mechanics behind certain JIT Java compilers.
"If his allegations are true, then computers from personal computers to servers, are at risk," said Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group Inc. "These allegations are serious and, if true, certainly a cause for concern. Just the fact that this is being widely publicized will act as an enticement for hackers to exploit the alleged weaknesses in the processors. That said, I believe that the author may be entering into the land of hyperbole when he says that these bugs can be exploited regardless of operating system or other security measures. That certainly needs to be proven."
Read more about Hardware in Computerworld's Hardware Topic Center.
- Accelerating Cloud Deployment and Operations with Managed Services Companies that do not have sufficient in-house expertise to either deploy or maintain an IaaS cloud should turn to Managed Service Providers .
- Enable secure remote access to 3D data without sacrificing visual perfomance Design and manufacturing companies must adapt quickly to the demands of an increasingly global and competitive economy. To speed time to market for...
- Simplifying Product Design In A Complex World Product design engineering has moved far beyond the confines of ever-more powerful workstations. Companies can't afford to restrict projects to using only local...
- A Reference Architecture for the Internet of Things The aim of this is to provide Architects and Developers of IoT projects with an effective starting point that covers the major requirements...
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily...
- On Demand: Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed, and it continues to escalate. IT must answer to users who demand access to their... All Hardware White Papers | Webcasts