ZombieLoad hit every Intel chip since 2011

ZombieLoad hit every Intel chip since 2011

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Vulnerability enables real-time CPU access Data Hackers can take advantage of Intel’s readability processors. A new vulnerability in Intel’s chip found by computer security specialists. It can be used to steal confidential information in real-time, directly from the processor, with preinstalled software.

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ZombieLoad allows hackers to exploit the processor architecture defenses to get random data. However, vulnerability does not allow malicious code implementation and execution, so its use as the only messing tool on remote computers is impossible – a malicious code preinstallation is required in the system.


Intel explains ZombieLoad with four chip error chips reported by security researchers to the company a month ago. Vulnerability has been confirmed on all Intel chip computers released since 2011. ARM and AMD processors do not have this vulnerability.

The name ZombieLoad comes from the “zombie filling”, which partly explains the mechanism of using vulnerabilities. The process attack has been submitted with the volume of data that can not be processed in the correct way and forces the processor to request microcode help to prevent the collapse.

Typically, apps can only see their data, but a process overload error allows to overcome this limit. In an expert’s opinion, ZombieLoad can retrieve all the data used in the CPU core.

Intel assures that microcoding will help remove CPU overclocking, which prevents applications from reading information that is not intended for them. ZombieLoad can use hackers to find out which sites the user visits in real time to get passwords or access tokens used for pay systems.

Like the previously discovered Sweepstakes and Spectra Vulnerabilities, ZombieLoad is available not only on computers and laptops, but also on cloud servers. Vulnerability can also be used on virtual machines. Daniel Rruss, one of the researchers who discovered ZombieLoad, claims that through this vulnerability, attackers can read data from servers and personal computers.

But ordinary users have no room for panic. To execute an attack using ZombieLoad, it is necessary to initiate and launch an infected application beforehand – then hackers can access victim data only provided there are much simpler ways to steal information.

Intel has already released microcode to remove vulnerabilities in its processors, Xeon, Broadwell, Sandy Bridge, Skylake and Haswell, Kaby Lake, Coffee Deck, Whiskey Lake and Lake Cascade, as well as all Atom and Knights processors.

Companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google have also released patches for their browsers. In an interview for TechCrunch, Intel has convinced that the microcoding update will affect the performance of the processor.

Computers will lose 3% of productivity, and data center servers – up to 9%. But in most scenarios of use, it is difficult to see a noticeable drop in performance, Intel says.

ZombieLoad hit every Intel chip since 2011

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