> Modern processors are being pushed to perform faster than ever before - and with this comes increases in heat and power consumption. To manage this, many chip manufacturers allow frequency and voltage to be adjusted as and when needed. But more than that, they offer the user the opportunity to modify the frequency and voltage through priviledged software interfaces. With Plundervolt we showed that these software interfaces can be exploited to undermine the system’s security. We were able to corrupt the integrity of Intel SGX on Intel Core processors by controling the voltage when executing enclave computations. This means that even Intel SGX’s memory encryption/authentication technology cannot protect against Plundervolt.
Not sure anyone should care about SGX anymore, all things considered, but for completeness, here’s another one.
TAA and other RIDL issues
> On Nov 12, 2019, we (VUSec) disclose TSX Asynchronous Abort (TAA), a new speculation-based vulnerability in Intel CPUs as well as other MDS-related issues, as described in our new RIDL addendum. In reality, this is no new vulnerability. We disclosed TAA (and other issues) as part of our original RIDL submission to Intel in Sep 2018. Unfortunately, the Intel PSIRT team missed our submitted proof-of-concept exploits (PoCs), and as a result, the original MDS mitigations released in May 2019 only partially addressed RIDL. You can read the full story below.
> On July 3, 2019, we finally learned that, to our surprise, the Intel PSIRT team had missed the PoCs from our Sep 29 submission, despite having awarded a bounty for it, explaining why Intel had failed to address - or even publicly acknowledge - many RIDL-class vulnerabilities on May 14, 2019.
When you have so many problems you’re paying out bounties without knowing what for...
TPM—Fail TPM meets Timing and Lattice Attacks
> We discovered timing leakage on Intel firmware-based TPM (fTPM) as well as in STMicroelectronics’ TPM chip. Both exhibit secret-dependent execution times during cryptographic signature generation. While the key should remain safely inside the TPM hardware, we show how this information allows an attacker to recover 256-bit private keys from digital signature schemes based on elliptic curves.
> This research shows that even rigorous testing as required by Common Criteria certification is not flawless and may miss attacks that have explicitly been checked for. The STMicroelectronics TPM chip is Common Criteria certified at EAL4+ for the TPM protection profiles and FIPS 140-2 certified at level 2, while the Intel TPM is certified according to FIPS 140-2. However, the certification has failed to protect the product against an attack that is considered by the protection profile.
> Light Commands is a vulnerability of MEMS microphones that allows attackers to remotely inject inaudible and invisible commands into voice assistants, such as Google assistant, Amazon Alexa, Facebook Portal, and Apple Siri using light.
> In our paper we demonstrate this effect, successfully using light to inject malicious commands into several voice controlled devices such as smart speakers, tablets, and phones across large distances and through glass windows.
Minerva: Lattice attacks strike again
> This page describes our discovery of a group of side-channel vulnerabilities in implementations of ECDSA/EdDSA in programmable smart cards and cryptographic software libraries. Our attack allows for practical recovery of the long-term private key. We have found implementations which leak the bit-length of the scalar during scalar multiplication on an elliptic curve. This leakage might seem minuscule as the bit-length presents a very small amount of information present in the scalar. However, in the case of ECDSA/EdDSA signature generation, the leaked bit-length of the random nonce is enough for full recovery of the private key used after observing a few hundreds to a few thousands of signatures on known messages, due to the application of lattice techniques.
50 ways to leak your data: an exploration of apps’ circumvention of the Android permissions system
> This paper is a study of Android apps in the wild that leak permission protected data (identifiers which can be used for tracking, and location information), where those apps should not have been able to see such data due to a lack of granted permissions. By detecting such leakage and analysing the responsible apps, the authors uncover a number of covert and side channels in real-world use.
Dragonblood new results
> August 2019 — During our initial disclosure, the Wi-Fi Alliance privately created security recommendations to mitigate our attacks. In these recommendations, they claim that Brainpool curves are safe to use, at least if products securely implement Dragonfly’s quadratic residue test (i.e. it must be implemented without side-channel leaks). However, we found that using Brainpool curves introduces a second class of side-channel leaks in the Dragonfly handshake of WPA3. In other words, even if the advice of the Wi-Fi Alliance is followed, implementations remain at risk of attacks. This demonstrates that implementing Dragonfly and WPA3 without side-channel leaks is surprisingly hard. It also, once again, shows that privately creating security recommendations and standards is at best irresponsible and at worst inept.
That last line.
> RSA is an intrinsically fragile cryptosystem containing countless foot-guns which the average software engineer cannot be expected to avoid. Weak parameters can be difficult, if not impossible, to check, and its poor performance compels developers to take risky shortcuts. Even worse, padding oracle attacks remain rampant 20 years after they were discovered. While it may be theoretically possible to implement RSA correctly, decades of devastating attacks have proven that such a feat may be unachievable in practice.
Defending against transient execution attacks
> It is important to build up a systematic understanding of these attacks and possible defenses
RAMBleed Reading Bits in Memory Without Accessing Them
> RAMBleed is based on a previous side channel called Rowhammer, which enables an attacker to flip bits in the memory space of other processes. We show in our paper that an attacker, by observing Rowhammer-induced bit flips in her own memory, can deduce the values in nearby DRAM rows. Thus, RAMBleed shifts Rowhammer from being a threat not only to integrity, but confidentiality as well. Furthermore, unlike Rowhammer, RAMBleed does not require persistent bit flips, and is thus effective against ECC memory commonly used by server computers.
Private Key Extraction from Qualcomm Hardware-backed Keystores
> A side-channel attack can extract private keys from certain versions of Qualcomm’s secure keystore. Recent Android devices include a hardware-backed keystore, which developers can use to protect their cryptographic keys with secure hardware. On some devices, Qualcomm’s TrustZone-based keystore leaks sensitive information through the branch predictor and memory caches, enabling recovery of 224 and 256-bit ECDSA keys. We demonstrate this by extracting an ECDSA P-256 private key from the hardware-backed keystore on the Nexus 5X.
A year with Spectre: a V8 perspective
> In theory, it would be sufficient to defeat either of the two components of an attack. Since we do not know of any way to defeat any of the parts perfectly, we designed and deployed mitigations that greatly reduce the amount of information that is leaked into CPU caches and mitigations that make it hard to recover the hidden state.
> Fortunately or unfortunately, our offensive research advanced much faster than our defensive research, and we quickly discovered that software mitigation of all possible leaks due to Spectre was infeasible. This was due to a variety of reasons. First, the engineering effort diverted to combating Spectre was disproportionate to its threat level. In V8 we face many other security threats that are much worse, from direct out-of-bound reads due to regular bugs (faster and more direct than Spectre), out-of-bound writes (impossible with Spectre, and worse) and potential remote code execution (impossible with Spectre and much, much worse). Second, the increasingly complicated mitigations that we designed and implemented carried significant complexity, which is technical debt and might actually increase the attack surface, and performance overheads. Third, testing and maintaining mitigations for microarchitectural leaks is even trickier than designing gadgets themselves, since it’s hard to be sure the mitigations continue working as designed. At least once, important mitigations were effectively undone by later compiler optimizations. Fourth, we found that effective mitigation of some variants of Spectre, particularly variant 4, to be simply infeasible in software, even after a heroic effort by our partners at Apple to combat the problem in their JIT compiler.
Dragonblood - Analysing WPA3's Dragonfly Handshake
> One of the main advantages of WPA3 is that, thanks to its underlying Dragonfly handshake, it’s near impossible to crack the password of a network. Unfortunately, we found that even with WPA3, an attacker within range of a victim can still recover the password of the network. This allows the adversary to steal sensitive information such as credit cards, password, emails, and so on, when the victim uses no extra layer of protection such as HTTPS. Fortunately, we expect that our work and coordination with the Wi-Fi Alliance will allow vendors to mitigate our attacks before WPA3 becomes widespread.
Scanning for Padding Oracles
> As you might have heard, we recently got our paper on padding oracle attacks accepted to the USENIX Security Conference. In this paper, we describe and evaluate a scanning methodology with which we found several padding oracle vulnerabilities in devices from various vendors. In total, we found that 1.83% of the Alexa Top 1 Million have padding oracle vulnerabilities.
Browser Side Channels
> Well-known DOM APIs
Only a few dozen issues.
XS-Searching Google’s bug tracker to find out vulnerable source code
> This article is a detailed explanation of how I could have exploited Google’s Monorail issue tracker to leak sensitive information (vulnerable source code files and line numbers) from private bug reports through a XS-Search attack.
SMoTherSpectre: exploiting speculative execution through port contention
> We introduce SMoTherSpectre, a speculative code-reuse attack that leverages port-contention in simultaneously multi-threaded processors (SMoTher) as a side channel to leak information from a victim process. SMoTher is a fine-grained side channel that detects contention based on a single victim instruction. To discover real-world gadgets, we describe a methodology and build a tool that locates SMoTher-gadgets in popular libraries. In an evaluation on glibc, we found more than hundred gadgets that can be used to leak some information. Finally, we demonstrate a proof-of-concept attack against encryption using the OpenSSL library, leaking information about the plaintext through gadgets in libcrypto and glibc.
SPOILER: Speculative Load Hazards Boost Rowhammer and Cache Attacks
> Modern microarchitectures incorporate optimization techniques such as speculative loads and store forwarding to improve the memory bottleneck. The processor executes the load speculatively before the stores, and forwards the data of a preceding store to the load if there is a potential dependency. This enhances performance since the load does not have to wait for preceding stores to complete. However, the dependency prediction relies on partial address information, which may lead to false dependencies and stall hazards.
When worlds collide.
Spectre is here to stay: An analysis of side-channels and speculative execution