Dubbed PortSmash and tracked as CVE-2018-5407, the vulnerability affects all CPUs that rely on SMT, including Intel’s Hyper-Threading architectures. By exploiting the vulnerability, an attacker could extract sensitive data such as encryption keys from a computer’s memory or processor.
The issue was discovered by researchers at Tampere University of Technology in Finland, and Universidad Tecnológica de la Habana (CUJAE) in Cuba. By exploiting the vulnerability, they were able to steal an OpenSSL P-384 private key from a TLS server.
As Billy Brumley from the Tampere University of Technology explains, the bug can be categorized as information disclosure through timing discrepancy and exists due to execution engine sharing on SMT.
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