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Researchers at VU University Amsterdam find a serious leak in Intel chips

2019-05-15T03:24:07.977Z

Researchers from the VU University Amsterdam have found a leak in commonly used processor chips from Intel. This makes it possible to read data processed via these CPUs, such as passwords or entered credit card details.


Researchers from the VU University Amsterdam have found a leak in commonly used processor chips from Intel. This makes it possible to read data processed via these CPUs, such as passwords or entered credit card details.

The vulnerability can be found in almost all modern servers, desktops and laptops that are equipped with an Intel processor. The leak was not found in smartphones and tablets with Intel chips.

If someone manages to exploit the vulnerability, they can read all kinds of data that a processor is processing. "Everything that the CPU actively uses can be leaked," researcher Herbert Bos told NU.nl. "So that's all you do on a computer."

"To leak that data, it is only necessary to run a specific program code on the victim's processor," Bos explains. For example, users can become victims by visiting a website with a rogue JavaScript ad or by installing malicious software.

Microsoft and Apple are releasing updates for their Windows and macOS operating systems, says Bos. He advises users to install it as quickly as possible to eliminate "many of the problems."

Because it is a hardware problem, the question is generally whether a software update is sufficient to completely remove the vulnerability. Due to agreements with Intel, Bos cannot say whether this applies to this situation. "No comment" is the response to the question.

Other researchers also find vulnerabilities

Others also released their investigations into leaks in Intel processors on Tuesday evening. They had agreed this with Intel, so that the American chip maker could investigate and close the vulnerability.

The Amsterdam researchers coordinated their publication about the leak with similar findings from researchers from, among others, an Austrian technical university.

"These vulnerabilities are all related," explains Bos. "It is an example of multiple vulnerabilities that end up with Intel chips under the same umbrella. In the end, the leaks offer all kinds of possibilities to read the processor chip. The variation is where it exactly happens."

Source: nunl

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