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Apple Disregards Security

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  • Apple not ‘worried’ about the latest security attack on the M1 chip

    A team of security researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) managed to defeat M1’s security measures, breaching the chip’s last line of security, the PAC (pointer authentication codes). The researchers developed a novel attack combining memory corruption and speculative execution, bypassing M1’s security. They found that the chip’s last line of security, often known as PAC (pointer authentication codes), can be breached through a hardware attack allowing attackers to gain access to the Mac.

  • Researchers discover a new hardware vulnerability in the Apple M1 chip

    The M1 chip uses a feature called "Pointer Authentication," which acts as a last line of defense against typical software vulnerabilities. With Pointer Authentication enabled, bugs that normally could compromise a system or leak private information are stopped dead in their tracks. Now, researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have found a crack: their novel hardware attack, called "PACMAN" shows that Pointer Authentication can be defeated without even leaving a trace. Moreover, PACMAN utilizes a hardware mechanism, so no software patch can ever fix it.

  • MIT researchers warn of ‘PACMAN’ M1 flaw that can’t be patched

    According to MIT CSAIL, since its PACMAN attack involves a hardware device, a software patch won’t fix the problem. The issue is a wider problem with Arm processors that use Pointer Authentication, not just Apple’s M1. “Future CPU designers should take care to consider this attack when building the secure systems of tomorrow,” Ravichandran wrote. “Developers should take care to not solely rely on pointer authentication to protect their software.” As a technological demonstration, PACMAN shows that pointer authentication isn’t completely foolproof and developers shouldn’t completely rely on it.

  • MIT Finds Apple M1 Vulnerability, Demos PACMAN Attack (Update)

    The researchers say the PACMAN attack works across privilege levels, "implying the feasibility of attacking a PA-enabled operating system kernel."

    When asked about the data exfiltration rate (i.e., how fast data can be stolen), the team tells Tom's Hardware, "It's hard to say since data exfiltration with this attack will be very dependent on the exact gadget used. Our proof of concept exploit takes 2.69 milliseconds per PAC guess (so worst-case 2.94 minutes per pointer). This may be longer in a fully integrated end-to-end attack."

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