Intel’s problems just got bigger! Cybersecurity researchers just announced four newly discovered vulnerabilities that affect Intel’s processors.
Interesting is the fact that these vulnerabilities are part of a new family of speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities.
All four vulnerabilities have the following names: ZombieLoad, Fallout, Rogue In-Flight Data Load aka RIDL, Yet Another Meltdown aka YAM and all of them are part of the Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) family.
The cybersecurity experts who discovered the flaws announced that they are following responsible disclosure practices and will publicly release their work only after Intel will develop a firmware to remediate the issues.
If we look at this new vulnerabilities we will understand that while Spectre and Meltdown could look at data sitting in a special part of storage, this new generation can grab data that’s in the middle of a process, researchers say.
Remember everything can be hacked. In order to stay away from any threats related to the cyber world, we recommend the install of antivirus for Windows or antivirus for Mac on every device that you own, depending on which OS your device is running. If you are a company, it is also recommended to hire every year a specialized cybersecurity company that will run annual tests on your company’s network. These tests include penetration testing and ethical hacking tests;
This kind of behavior is very dangerous because no user programs are supposed to be able to access this data except through very specific calls through the operating system. But a skilled hacker with a strong coding background can access this type of data through carefully constructed calls.
All four vulnerabilities are leaking all the data that userspace should not have access to. For example, in a multi-tenant environment – such as on servers at a cloud-hosting provider – it would be possible for software running as part of one user’s space to gain access to data in another user’s space.
Immediately after the findings were announced Intel spokesperson confirmed them but added that exploiting those would be like exploiting any Meltdown-category vulnerability which is quite complex and likely beyond the capability of most malware developers.
The only good news is that a cyber attack would be difficult to pull off by the average hacker.
As soon as the word got out everyone started to engage the problem, in fact, some vendors, including Microsoft, have suggested that disabling hyper- threaded execution on servers might be required for remediating the vulnerability, but Intel says this should not be the case since simply disabling hyper-threading doesn’t provide protection.
For the moment is known that Intel has already released a patch for MDS and also fixed the flaw in new CPUs it released last month. Microsoft and Apple also have included microcode patches in recent Windows and MacOS, updates, and Linux patches also have been issued.
Experts say that we have to expect more of this class of vulnerabilities. Meltdown and Spectre sparked a new area of research, and there are most likely more architectural flaws are waiting to be discovered.
We would continue to monitor this cybersecurity problem. Meanwhile, users should keep a keen eye out for any cyber attacks. Remember to use an antivirus for Windows or antivirus for Mac in every device that you own, depending on which OS your machine is running, If you are a company we recommend to hire every year a specialized cybersecurity company that will run annual tests on your company’s network, tests like this include: penetration testing and ethical hacking.