Researchers at MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have found a security flaw within Apple’s M1 chip. It is a hardware error that makes it impossible to fix this problem with a software update.
According to the researchers, the flaw could allow malicious parties to break through the last line of security.
Unsolvable mistake Apple’s M1 chip discovered
Apple’s M1 chip makes it difficult for a malicious person to inject malicious code into a device’s memory. However, it is not impossible, according to researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory discovers. Apple’s hardware security mechanism, called Pointer Authentication Codes (PAC), contains a vulnerability. By performing a hardware attack on this mechanism, the researchers have found that this authentication can be defeated.
The attack in question was named Pacman and left no trace of his attack. Using so-called Speculative Execution, it managed to guess the Pointer Authentication Code and infect the system. Dangerous, because since it is a hardware problem, this cannot be solved with a security update.
Apple’s M1 chip cannot always be cracked by Pacman. According to the researchers, this is not a magical detour and is only possible in combination with existing bugs. The publication has since been sent to Apple but has not yet disclosed anything about the vulnerability to TechCruch+, the source of this story.
Definitely not the first mistake
Although the Apple M1 chip has a very good reputation, it is not all roses and moons. In May last year, a developer also discovered a flaw in the security of the SoC (System on a Chip). This managed to create a connection through which at least two different malicious applications could exchange information with each other.
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At the time, that problem was labeled as harmless by Apple. This is due to the fact that malware cannot be used to steal or interrupt data.
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