After Specter, Meltdown and Zombieload, another vulnerability in modern processors is shaking the data security of users. ÆPIC is one of the first CPU vulnerabilities discovered, through which sensitive data such as passwords can be read directly from a cache. Attackers do not have to make any complex detours via side channels. Starting today, Intel is providing important updates for affected devices to close this gap.
"We couldn't believe what we discovered at first," says Dr. Michael Black. The CISPA Faculty, together with an international research team, has once again found a processor vulnerability that is forcing the manufacturer Intel to act quickly. "Up to now we have suspected the greatest security problems in the internal, hardly documented implementation (microarchitecture) of the processors, but now it has become apparent that very similar sources of error can also be found on the well-documented architecture level of the processors."
The new vulnerability was named ÆPIC because it can be exploited via a function of the so-called APIC (Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller). APIC is a control element in processors that has been used for decades. APIC's main task is to regulate in processors with multiple cores which core has to interrupt its computing processes if a new request - for example from a user input - comes in. The processor can communicate with the APIC to configure it and to request information. The communication between the processor and the APIC takes place via the so-called superqueue. The superqueue is an intermediate memory that is also used for transferring data from random access memory (RAM) to the processor via certain data caches.
All current Sunny Cove-based Intel CPUs such as Ice Lake and Alder Lake that came onto the market between 2019 and 2021 are demonstrably affected. "But this gap may also exist in other processors, but we were not able to test all of them." The processor manufacturer Intel has reacted to the recent data leak by releasing important updates that users should install as soon as possible.
Dramatische Schwachstelle in Intel-Prozessoren entdeckt"]Dramatische Schwachstelle in Intel-Prozessoren entdeckt
Intel Processor Advisory: