from the leak-or-flood? dept.
Some of the computer security boffins who revealed last year's data-leaking speculative-execution holes have identified yet another side-channel attack that can bypass security protections in modern systems.
While side channel attacks like Spectre and Meltdown exploited chip design flaws to glean privileged information, this one is hardware agnostic, involves the Windows and Linux operating system page cache, and can be exploited remotely, within limits.
In a paper provided to The Register in advance of distribution early next week through ArXiv, researchers from Graz University of Technology, Boston University, NetApp, CrowdStrike, and Intel – Daniel Gruss, Erik Kraft, Trishita Tiwari, Michael Schwarz, Ari Trachtenberg, Jason Hennessey, Alex Ionescu, and Anders Fogh – describe a way to monitor how certain processes access memory through the operating system page cache.
"We present a set of local attacks that work entirely without any timers, utilizing operating system calls (mincore on Linux and QueryWorkingSetEx on Windows) to elicit page cache information," wrote the researchers. "We also show that page cache metadata can leak to a remote attacker over a network channel, producing a stealthy covert channel between a malicious local sender process and an external attacker."
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]
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