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Tuesday, March 13, 2018
AMD Chips Have Security Flaws, Report Claims

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is investigating a report that processors from its AMD Ryzen & EPYC product lines have 13 "critical" security vulnerabilities and manufacturer backdoors.

Israel-based cybersecurity firm CTS Labs said it found 13 critical security vulnerabilities and manufacturer backdoors in AMD's EPYC, Ryzen, Ryzen Pro and Ryzen Mobile lines of processors. The flaws could put organizations at increased risk of cyber-attacks, the report said.

"We are actively investigating and analyzing its findings, "AMD said. "This company was previously unknown to AMD and we find it unusual for a security firm to publish its research to the press without providing a reasonable amount of time for the company to investigate and address its findings. At AMD, security is a top priority and we are continually working to ensure the safety of our users as potential new risks arise. We will update this blog as news develops, "the chip maker added.

Accoring to the report, the affected chips are the AMD Secure Processor, responsible for maintaining security within EPYC and Ryzen processors, and the AMD Ryzen Chipset co-developed by AMD and ASMedia.

The report says that the AMD Secure Processor is currently being shipped with critical security vulnerabilities allowing malicious actors to install malware inside the chip. The vulnerabilities may allow malicious actors to proliferate through corporate networks using stolen network credentials, by allowing Microsoft Windows Credential Guard to be bypassed.

Secure Encrypted Virtualization, a key feature that AMD advertises to cloud providers, could be defeated as soon as attackers obtain malicious code execution on the EPYC Secure Processor, according to the report.

"A malicious actor can gain full access to the compromised system, its physical memory, peripherals and to the secrets stored inside (fTPM). Attackers could execute malicious code on the EPYC Secure Processor," CTS Labs says.

The AMD Ryzen Chipset is a central component on Ryzen and Ryzen Pro workstations: it links the processor with hardware devices such as WiFi and network cards.

According to CTS Labs, the Ryzen chipset is currently being shipped with exploitable backdoors that could let attackers inject malicious code into the chip, providing them with a safe haven to operate from.

AMD's outsource partner, ASMedia, is a subsidiary of ASUSTeK Computer. In the past, the company has been penalized by the Federal Trade Commission for neglecting security vulnerabilities.

The Chipset backdoors exist on virtually all Ryzen and Ryzen Pro workstations on the market today. "USB, SATA, PCI-E, and network traffic may flow through the chipset. Malware could leverage this position of power," the security report says.

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