New vulnerability named ‘Spoiler’ discovered in Intel processors

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Recently, a nasty execution hole was found in Intel’s processors named ‘Spoiler’. Its level of vulnerability runs along the same lines as Spectre, another flaw affecting modern microprocessors, but this works in ways not quite the same.

A research report by computer scientists at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts states- “Spoiler is not a Spectre attack. The root cause for Spoiler is a weakness in the address speculation of Intel’s proprietary implementation of the memory subsystem which directly leaks timing behaviour due to physical address conflicts. Existing Spectre mitigation would therefore not interfere with Spoiler.”

vulnerability named 'Spoiler'

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This vulnerability allows an attacker to view critical data from running programs, which is otherwise hidden. An attacker would need a malware or piece of malicious javascript to be able to use this flaw against your computer. According to researchers, this vulnerability cannot be eradicated by any current measures, but require significant amount of redesigning work at the silicon level.

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This exploit is basically a danger to all Intel Core processors from the first generation onwards. An Intel spokesperson recently came forward and gave a statement- “Intel received notice of this research, and we expect that software can be protected against such issues by employing side channel safe software development practices. This includes avoiding control flows that are dependent on the data of interest.

“We likewise expect that DRAM modules mitigated against Rowhammer style attacks remain protected. Protecting our customers and their data continues to be a critical priority for us and we appreciate the efforts of the security community for their ongoing research.”

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