Another vulnerability in Intel chips revealed

PortSmash (ID-CVE-2018-5407)

A new Intel processor vulnerability has been identified that allows attackers to access encrypted data from internal CPU processes. The new vulnerability, codenamed PortSmash (ID-CVE-2018-5407), was discovered by a group of five scientists from Tampere University of Technology in Finland and Havana technical University in Cuba.

The researchers classified PortSmash as an attack on third-party channels. This class of attacks is aimed at vulnerabilities in the practical implementation of the cryptosystem. In contrast to theoretical cryptanalysis, a third-party attack uses information about the physical processes in the device that are not considered in the theoretical description of the cryptographic algorithm. Typically, it uses methods to analyze differences in operating time, power consumption, electromagnetic leakage, or even sound to obtain additional information to break encryption algorithms and gain access to the data processed by the processor.

The researchers note that theoretically any processors using the technology of Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT), which allows you to simultaneously run multiple computational threads on a single processor core, are subject to PortSmash attack. In simple terms, the attack works by running a malicious process on the same kernel as a normal thread, using SMT capabilities. The malicious PortSmash process then allows a small amount of data to be leaked from a parallel process, helping attackers to obtain encrypted data. Researchers have already confirmed that PortSmash runs on Intel processors that support Hyper-Threading (HT), a native SMT implementation.
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