On the 12th of March, Herbert provided his view on the NatWest pilot of authorizing payments by means of fingerprints instead of PIN on BNR (Business News Radio). Many thanks to VUSec Slack chat for the long discussion on this topic 😉
VUSec researcher Pietro Frigo won the Code Blue Young Researcher Award and because he is now rich, he promises to buy us all drinks for the remainder of his Ph.D. The corresponding paper (“Grand Pwning Unit“) shows how to use the GPU to boost microarchitectural attacks (such as cache side channels and Rowhammer). Here is a picture of the lucky winner:
We have shared TLBleed with several operating system projects, in order for them to be able to implement mitigations if desired. As a result of seeing TLBleed, OpenBSD decided to disable Hyperthreading by default. This has prompted some speculation that TLBleed is a spectre-like attack, but that is not the case. OpenBSD also realizes the exact impact of TLBleed. There has been significant news coverage: TheRegister (and this one), ArsTechnica, bleepingcomputer, ZDnet, Techrepublic, TechTarget, ITwire, tweakers, and a personal favorite, the SecurityNow Podcast episode 669 (mp3, show notes, youtube).
The full paper will be online soon.
GLitch, our JS-based Rowhammer exploit that takes advantage of GPU acceleration to trigger bit flips and get control over the Firefox browser on Android made it to the news. After respecting the 90 days disclosure policy we finally went live on May 3 releasing all the details of our attack.
The research got quite some interest from the security community on Twitter and it got covered in two detailed articles on Wired and ArsTechnica. After this, it got picked up by other news outlets such as Decipher, Tweakers, The Hacker News and others.
While the great interest for the research people did not really like the demo video. The reason is attributed to the background music.
Oh well… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This year, VUSec had 2 papers accepted at USENIX Security ’18: Malicious Management Unit (how to use the MMU to mount indirect cache attacks and bypass software-based defenses) and TLBleed (how to mount TLB side-channel attacks across threads and leak fine-grained information).
Network infrastructure attacks are a growing threat, and are addressed by a budding VUSec research project.
KPN recently published the fifth European Cyber Security Perspectives – edition 2018. It features an article detailing an early version of an active research project of VUsec, called Packet Origin Fidelity (POF), a detection method of network infrastructure attacks.
We analyzed the election software that is used, and has been used for years, in all Dutch elections. Our conclusion: this software is very vulnerable.
On the 13th of March, Herbert Bos appeared on RTL Nieuws to summarize these findings. He is on briefly after 7 seconds, and then again at 3m17s (also with Sebastian, Marco and Sanjay, who did the heavy lifting for the analysis, together with Andrei).
Surprisingly, Minister Ollongren does not think there is a problem, even though we show vulnerabilities as bad as integer overflows that allow attackers to manipulate overall results even from compromised local polling stations.
The news broadcast, our analysis, and the independent analysis by Sijmen Ruwhof, did lead to questions from the parliament, and some members of parliament explicitly echoed Herbert’s analysis. The issue was also reported in most newspapers and on Tweakers.