AMD will release the patches for the recently discovered flaws very soon

Pierluigi Paganini March 21, 2018

AMD concluded its investigation on the vulnerabilities recently discovered by CTS Labs and announced that security patches will be released very soon.

AMD has finally acknowledged 13 critical vulnerabilities and exploitable backdoors in its Ryzen and EPYC processors that were first disclosed earlier March by the researchers at the security firm CTS Labs.

The CTS Labs researchers did not disclose any technical details about the vulnerabilities to avoid abuses in the wild.

The vendor plans to roll out firmware updates in the incoming weeks to address the flaws affecting millions of devices worldwide.

The flaws could be potentially exploited to steal sensitive data, install malicious code on AMD-based systems, and gain full access to the compromised systems. The flaws expose servers, workstations, and laptops running vulnerable AMD Ryzen, Ryzen Pro, Ryzen Mobile or EPYC processors to attacks.

CTS-Labs promptly reported the flaws to AMD, Microsoft and “a small number of companies that could produce patches and mitigations.”

The analysis conducted by the security experts revealed four classes (RYZENFALL, FALLOUT, CHIMERA, and MASTERKEY) of vulnerabilities affecting the AMD Zen architecture processors and chipsets that usually contain sensitive information such as passwords and encryption keys.

The flaw could allow to bypass AMD’s Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) technology and also Microsoft Windows Credential Guard.

AMD flaws

This week AMD published a press release trying to downplay the severity of the flaws.

“It’s important to note that all the issues raised in the research require administrative access to the system, a type of access that effectively grants the user unrestricted access to the system and the right to delete, create or modify any of the folders or files on the computer, as well as change any settings.” reads the press release published by AMD. “Any attacker gaining unauthorized administrative access would have a wide range of attacks at their disposal well beyond the exploits identified in this research.” 

Differently from what has happened for Meltdown and Spectre attacks, AMD sustains that the patches it is going to release are not expected to impact system performance.

CTS Labs are skeptical about a rapid fix of the issues, they claimed that AMD could take several months to release patches for most of the flaws, even some of them could not be fixed.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – chip, hacking)

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