Tool attacks Intel chips via power meter : Page 2 of 2

November 19, 2020 //By Nick Flaherty
Intel chips vulnerable to power side channel attack
Researchers at Graz University of Technology in Austria developed a tool that can extract cryptographic keys from the latest Intel processors using power data
the powercap framework provides unprivileged access to the Intel RAPL counters. With a recent security update, this access is revoked, and an unprivileged attacker can not retrieve power measurements anymore.

However, this update does not protect against a privileged side channel attack using a compromised operating system targeting Intel SGX. To mitigate attacks in this scenario, Intel released microcode updates to affected processors in servers, PCs and laptops. These updates change the way the energy consumption is reported if Intel SGX is enabled on the system. Instead of actual energy measurements, it falls back to a model-based approach, such that same instructions with different data or operands can not be distinguished. This means if the enclave follows the Intel guide lines and uses constant-time cryptographic implementations, an adversary should not be able to recover any secrets of the enclave.

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