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Security advisories — Feb 26, 2019

AMD Processor Vulnerabilities Update - ID 004-03-2018

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On March 14, eSentire released a security advisory relating to vulnerabilities in AMD processors, reported by the Israeli security firm, CTS Labs 1. On March 21, AMD released a statement both acknowledging and downplaying the severity of the vulnerabilities. AMD also provided timelines on planned mitigations 2. eSentire Threat Intelligence maintains our original assessment that these vulnerabilities do not pose an immediate threat to customers. Should proof-of-concept code be released or exploitation of the vulnerabilities in the wild be observed, eSentire Threat Intelligence will reassess the severity of this threat.

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Additional information

On March 13, CTS Labs published a whitepaper outlining 13 critical vulnerabilities discovered in AMD processors. These findings were unconfirmed by AMD until a full technical review could be completed. On March 21, AMD completed their review and released their findings 2.

The 13 reported vulnerabilities have been categorized into three groups by AMD according to the devices they affect.

In order to exploit the above vulnerabilities, a threat actor would require administrative access on the device and a high degree of technical knowledge.

If exploited, these vulnerabilities would allow threat actors to circumvent security controls, make changes that persist after a device reboot, install difficult to detect malware and access physical memory through the chipset.

AMD has not released security patches for these vulnerabilities but states that patches can be expected in the next few weeks. At this time, eSentire has not observed any of the released vulnerabilities being exploited in the wild.

[1] https://www.esentire.com/news-and-events/security-advisories/amd-processor-vulnerabilities/

[2] https://community.amd.com/community/amd-corporate/blog/2018/03/21/initial-amd-technical-assessment-of-cts-labs-research

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