There is a new security flaw discovered in Intel processors allowing hackers to steal data which the processor recently accessed. This is also true on cloud servers. Apparently, this might allow malicious entities to steal critical information across other virtual machines that run on the same computer.
Updated on 30 March 2023
The security flaw on Intel processor generations is called ZombieLoad. Moreover, it is not yet determined if the attack is being utilized by hackers. ZombieLoad is discovered by Graz University of Technology researchers and was reported to Intel.
As a response, the company has launched code in order to patch the flaw. Although the code must be applied by the processors’ individual manufacturers then afterward be installed by all users. This is to make sure that everyone is covered by the protective patch.
In addition to that, the security flaw affects nearly every Intel processor generations of 2011. This is according to a report saying Google and Apple have preventively issued updates while Microsoft declared the availability of the updates. Like so, the attackers must be able to run the code on a particular machine to take control of the flaw. Therefore, the ZombieLoad will not actually affect everyone.
The truth is, ZombieLoad is just the newest vulnerability in the long list of critical security flaws that can seriously take control over a process. They call it speculative execution which we can find into several modern processors today. This means Intel processor compared to AMD on this aspect will only turn out as equal. Most of all that security flaws like this one can both affect regardless of the processor brand.
On the other hand, the ZombieLoad enables processors to execute future commands preemptively. This provides a significant increase in speed. However, the researchers linked it to the Meltdown and Spectre which are the first two flaws they have discovered. These security flaws suggest that the process actually leaves a few gaping that can allow attackers to pass through.
These vulnerabilities need a patch as a cure in particular ways that is capable of slowing the process down a bit. However, the patch won’t completely cut off the security flaw because speculative execution is an aspect that you can keep finding security flaws. This is according to researchers.
Currently, attacks like Meltdown and Spectre has not yet shown huge effects just like what the researchers warn people about. Aside from that, there is a bulk of patches. But slowing down processes is just a minor thing. As a matter of fact, there is a bigger attack that is taking the benefit of these security flaws.
But we are not saying that these risks don’t really have the chance to come. As a matter of fact, knowing that we are about to get newer chips in the future suggests that we are also about to find more attacks.
There are times when you hear news about Intel processor shortage as well as articles making Intel processor comparison. However, security flaws found on these critical computer components are rarely showing. I hope this news has opened your eyes into risk we are all facing with these processors and take preventive measure for yourself.