Story image

Flaw discovered in Intel chips, allows attackers to steal cloud data

16 Aug 18

Researchers have discovered another security flaw in Intel security chips – the third one this year after Spectre and Meltdown.

The flaw allows an attacker to steal sensitive information stored on personal computers or third-party clouds. 

According to their research report, Foreshadow has two versions, the original attack designed to extract data from Intel SGX enclaves and a Next-Generation version which affects Virtual Machines (VMs), hypervisors (VMM), operating system (OS) kernel memory, and System Management Mode (SMM) memory.

The flaw was discovered by researchers from the Israel Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, the University of Adelaide, and the Catholic University of Leuven.

The report says that mitigations against Meltdown and Spectre are not effective against Foreshadow and Foreshadow-NG.

On its website, Intel says it has “worked with operating system vendors, equipment manufacturers, and other ecosystem partners to develop platform firmware and software updates that can help protect systems from these methods.”

“This includes the release of updated Intel microprocessor microcode to our customers and partners.”

Affected CPUs

Intel confirmed that Foreshadow affects all SGX-enabled Core processors (Skylake and Kaby Lake), while Atom family processors with SGX support remain unaffected. Intel confirmed that Foreshadow-NG affects the following processes:

·  Intel Core i3/i5/i7/M processor (45nm and 32nm)

·  2nd/3rd/4th/5th/6th/7th/8th generation Intel Core processors

·  Intel Core X-series Processor Family for Intel X99 and X299 platforms

·  Intel Xeon processor 3400/3600/5500/5600/6500/7500 series

·  Intel Xeon Processor E3 v1/v2/v3/v4/v5/v6 Family

·  Intel® Xeon Processor E5 v1/v2/v3/v4 Family

·  Intel® Xeon Processor E7 v1/v2/v3/v4 Family

·  Intel® Xeon Processor Scalable Family

·  Intel® Xeon Processor D (1500, 2100)

Cloud threat defence company RedLock’s Cloud Security VP Matthew Chiodi says, “What’s interesting about the Intel disclosure is that researchers simply followed the thread left by Spectre and Meltdown—this isn’t a completely new class of vulnerabilities.

“This means that while Intel is not officially aware of any exploits that take advantage of this today, certainly advanced nation-states have been working on them.

“Interestingly enough, back in June, the OpenBSD project announced plans to disable support for Intel CPU hyper-threading (HT) due to security concerns around more ‘Spectre-class bugs’ - Their announcement has proved prescient.”

Chiodi adds that public cloud titans Google, Microsoft and AWS quickly responded to Foreshadow by updating their respective infrastructure and services.

“Enterprise cloud consumers tangibly benefited as the vast majority of them are not operating multi-tenant workloads on the same VM.

“That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do on the end-user side, but the cloud providers have already done a lot of the heavy lifting.

He concludes,” The bottom line is that even the best and fastest fixes aren’t effective unless all stakeholders do their part—this is especially relevant in public cloud given the shared responsibility model.

"It only takes one party, one weak link in the chain, for the exposure to remain.”

How blockchain will impact NZ’s economy
Distributed ledgers and blockchain are anticipated to provide a positive uplift to New Zealand’s economy.
25% of malicious emails still make it through to recipients
Popular email security programmes may fail to detect as much as 25% of all emails with malicious or dangerous attachments, a study from Mimecast says.
Human value must be put back in marketing - report
“Digital is now so widely adopted that its novelty has worn off. In their attempt to declutter, people are being more selective about which products and services they incorporate into their daily lives."
Wine firm uses AR to tell its story right on the bottle
A Central Otago wine company is using augmented reality (AR) and a ‘digital first’ strategy to change the way it builds its brand and engages with customers.
DigiCert conquers Google's distrust of Symantec certs
“This could have been an extremely disruptive event to online commerce," comments DigiCert CEO John Merrill. 
Protecting organisations against internal fraud
Most companies tend to take a basic approach that focuses on numbers and compliance, without much room for grey areas or negotiation.
Telesmart to deliver Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams
The integration will allow Telesmart’s Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams to natively enable external voice connectivity from within Teams collaborative workflow environment.
Jade Software & Ambit take chatbots to next level of AI
“Conversation Agents present a huge opportunity to increase customer and employee engagement in a cost-effective manner."