2018 has been quite a tough year for Intel.
While the chip-maker large remains handling Meltdown and Spectre processor vulnerabilities, yet one more major speculative execution flaw has been unconcealed in Intel’s Core and Xeon lines of processors that will leave users at risk of cyber-attacks.
Dubbed foreshadow, or else referred to as L1 Terminal Fault or L1TF, the new attacks embody 3 new speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities moving Intel processors
The auspicate attacks might enable a hacker or malicious application to achieve access to the sensitive information hold on in a very computer’s memory or third-party clouds, as well as files, encoding keys, pictures, or passwords.
The three Foreshadow vulnerabilities have been categorized into two variants:
Foreshadow targets a new technology originally been designed to protect select code and users’ data from disclosure or modification, even if the entire system falls under attack:
- Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX) — CVE-2018-3615
The new attack against SGX enclaves, that is resilient to Meltdown and Spectre attacks, might permit an unauthorized attacker to steal info residing within the L1 data cache—a protected portion of a chip’s core memory that holds things like passwords and encoding keys—via side-channel analysis
Foreshadow: Next Generation (NG)
The second variant includes 2 vulnerabilities that target virtualization environments being employed by massive cloud computing suppliers like Amazon and Microsoft:
- Operating systems and System Management Mode (SMM) — CVE-2018-3620
- Virtualization software and Virtual Machine Monitors (VMM) — CVE-2018-3646
These flaws also disclose sensitive information residing in the L1 data cache, including the information stored in other virtual machines running on the same third-party cloud, with local user access or guest OS privilege via a terminal page fault and side-channel analysis
Since SGX is only supported in Intel processors, the Foreshadow bugs only affect Intel processors, though researchers have yet to test Foreshadow against ARM and AMD processors
According to Intel, none of these attacks so far appear to have been seen in the wild, and the company has started releasing patches for all the new speculative execution flaws. You can check the status of the security patches here.
Besides Intel, Microsoft and Oracle on Tuesday also released security advisories and updates for L1TF. Cloud services like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Compute Engine have already mitigated the issue.