Ignore the noise about a scary hidden backdoor in Intel processors: It's a fascinating debug port

www.theregister.co.uk | 3/29/2019 | Staff
stefania (Posted by) Level 3
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Researchers at the Black Hat Asia conference this week disclosed a previously unknown way to tap into the inner workings of Intel's chip hardware.

The duo of Mark Ermolov and Maxim Goryachy from Positive Technologies explained how a secret Chipzilla system known as Visualization of Internal Signals Architecture (VISA) allows folks to peek inside the hidden workings and mechanisms of their CPU chipsets – capturing the traffic of individual signals and snapshots of the chip's internal architecture in real time – without any special equipment.

Debug - Access - Security - Vulnerability - Channel

To be clear, this hidden debug access is not really a security vulnerability. To utilize the channel, you must exploit a 2017 elevation-of-privilege vulnerability, or one similar to it, which itself requires you to have administrative or root-level access on the box. In other words, if an attacker can even get at VISA on your computer, it was already game over for you: they need admin rights.

Rather, Ermolov and Goryachy explained, the ability to access VISA will largely be of interest to researchers and chip designers who want to get a window into the lowest of the low-level operations of Chipzilla's processor architecture.

VISA - Set

VISA is one of a set of hidden, non-publicly or partially publicly documented,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: www.theregister.co.uk
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