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Researchers Disclose New ‘Inverse Spectre Attack’

A new Intel security flaw has been discovered that potentially allows passwords to be stolen. An anonymous reader quotes Digital Journal:
As EE News reports, researchers said the new flaw enables an “inverse spectre attack”. According to Giorgi Maisuradze and Professor Dr. Christian Rossow a ret2spec (return-to-speculation) vulnerability with the chips allows for would-be attackers to read data without authorization. According to Professor Rossow: “The security gap is caused by CPUs predicting a so-called return address for runtime optimization.”

The implications of this are: “If an attacker can manipulate this prediction, he gains control over speculatively executed program code. It can read out data via side channels that should actually be protected from access.” This means, in essence, that malicious web pages could interpret the memory of the web browser in order to access and copy critical data. Such data would include stored passwords.

“At least all Intel processors of the past ten years are affected by the vulnerabilities,” reports EE News, adding “Similar attack mechanisms could probably also be derived for ARM and AMD processors….”

“Manufacturers were notified of the weaknesses in May 2018 and were granted 90 days to remedy them before the results were published. That deadline has now expired.”


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