Spectre-The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Earlier this year, the industry had the opportunity and pleasure to begin working through Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities and potential attacks. The remediation for these is still being researched and applied for each use case. These had the potential to be devastating for a target.

As with any successful proof of concept or attack, once the remediation has been identified, new variants designed to evade the original detection are generally created to continue the attacks in a successful manner. This is not unusual as this side of the business has been operationalized as a business. The attacker naturally noted this exploit would work and thus modified the code for the updated version. The new exploit has been named Spectre Next Generation or Spectre-NG.

Remediation

The new variant continues to be rather significant. Intel, as of March 2018, was working on the patches for this. The patches are to be pushed in May and August 2018. This has been worked on intently as Intel is focused on protecting their customer’s data.

Targets

The next iteration of this attack is fully capable of being used against both consumer and corporate enterprise computer systems. Although the potential target database is rather large, this attack is not likely to be used in a mass or large scale attack. The research however noted the cloud and multi-tenant service providers may be at a higher risk of attack.

As with the prior vulnerability, this will be patched and remediated in due time. Until this junction, the potentially affected parties need to exercise a bit more care.

Resources

Kovacs, E. (2018, May 4). Intel working on patches for 8 new spectre-like flaws: report. Retrieved from https://www.securityweek.com/intel-working-patches-8-new-spectre-flaws-report

Schmidt, J. (2018, March 5). Exclusive: Spectre-NG-Multiple new intel CPU flaws revealed, several services. Retrieved from https://www.heise.de/ct/artikel/Exclusive-Spectre-NG-Multiple-new-Intel-CPU-flaws-revealed-several-services-4060648.html

Tung, L. (2018, May 4). Are 8 new spectre-class flaws about to be exposed? Intel confirms its readying fixes. Retrieved from https://www.zdnet.com/article/are-8-new-spectre-class-flaws-about-to-be-exposed-intel-confirms-its-readying-fixes

About the Author - Charles Parker, II has been working in the info sec field for over a decade, performing pen tests, vulnerability assessments, consulting with small- to medium-sized businesses to mitigate and remediate their issues, and preparing IT and info sec policies and procedures. Mr. Parker’s background includes work in the banking, medical, automotive, and staffing industries.

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