from the another-day-another-breach dept.
Back at the start of the year, a set of attacks that leveraged the speculative execution capabilities of modern high-performance processors was revealed. The attacks were named Meltdown and Spectre. Since then, numerous variants of these attacks have been devised. In tandem, a range of mitigation techniques has been created to enable at-risk software, operating systems, and hypervisor platforms to protect against these attacks.
A research team—including many of the original researchers behind Meltdown, Spectre, and the related Foreshadow and BranchScope attacks—has published a new paper disclosing yet more attacks in the Spectre and Meltdown families. The result? Seven new possible attacks. Some are mitigated by known mitigation techniques, but others are not. That means further work is required to safeguard vulnerable systems.
The previous investigations into these attacks have been a little ad hoc in nature: examining particular features of interest to provide, for example, a Spectre attack that can be performed remotely over a network or Meltdown-esque attack to break into SGX enclaves. The new research is more systematic, looking at the underlying mechanisms behind both Meltdown and Spectre and running through all the different ways the speculative execution can be misdirected.
Google security researchers have come to the conclusion that speculative execution attacks are here to stay without drastic changes to modern CPU architectures, such as removing speculative execution entirely.
Patch for Intel Speculative Execution Vulnerability Could Reduce Performance by 5 to 35% [Update: 2]
Qualcomm Joins Others in Confirming its CPUs Suffer From Spectre, and Other Meltdown News
Congress Questions Chipmakers About Meltdown and Spectre
What Impact Has Meltdown/Spectre Had on YOUR Systems?
Intel Admits a Load of its CPUs Have Spectre V2 Flaw That Can't be Fixed
Intel FPU Speculation Vulnerability Confirmed
New Spectre Variant SpectreRSB Targets Return Stack Buffer
Intel Discloses a Speculative Execution Attack in Software Guard eXtensions (SGX)
Intel 'Gags' Linux Distros From Revealing Performance Hit From Spectre Patches
MIT Researchers Claim to Have a Solution for Some Speculative Execution Attacks
Spectre, Meltdown Researchers Unveil 7 More Speculative Execution Attacks
New Side-Channel Leak: Researchers Attack Operating System Page Caches