Security Market Segment LS
Sunday, 23 June 2019 08:17

OpenSSH adds protection against Spectre, Meltdown, Rowhammer and RAMBleed attacks Featured

By
OpenSSH adds protection against Spectre, Meltdown, Rowhammer and RAMBleed attacks Pixabay

The OpenSSH project has implemented changes in its implementation of secure shell to guard against speculative execution and memory side-channel attacks — Spectre, Meltdown, Rowhammer and RAMBleed — developer Damien Miller says.

In a mailing list post, Miller said the changes would add protection for private keys at rest in RAM.

OpenSSH is run by the OpenBSD project which is headed by Theo de Raadt. SSH or Secure Shell is a program used to log into another computer over a network, to execute commands in a remote machine, and to move files from one machine to another. It provides strong authentication and secure communications over insecure channels. OpenSSH is a free implementation of the program.

Miller told iTWire in response to a query that the mitigation tried to make speculation and other leakage attacks unlikely to succeed. "The attacks all depend on having the data that they want to steal be available somewhere in RAM and exploit CPU or architectural weaknesses to get at some or all of it," he explained.

"The change we've made works by making the data that attackers would want to steal no longer directly available - they [private keys] are stored encrypted except for the moment they are needed. To decrypt them, we effectively scatter the key across a relatively large amount of memory, and require that the attacker read all of it exactly before they can recover the key and use it to decrypt the data they are trying to steal."

Spectre and Meltdown were disclosed in January 2018 and affect Intel processors made since 1995. Meltdown removes the barrier between user applications and sensitive parts of the operating system. Spectre, which is also reportedly found in some AMD and ARM processors, can trick vulnerable applications into leaking the contents of their memory.

According to Wikipedia, Rowhammer "is an unintended and undesirable side effect in dynamic random-access memory in which memory cells leak their charges and interact electrically between themselves, possibly leaking or changing the contents of nearby memory rows that were not addressed in the original memory access.

Rambleed takes advantage of the same flaw that is used for Rowhammer attacks, allowing an attacker to read the contents of protected memory, rather than modifying it.

Miller, who has been with the OpenSSH project since 1999 when it was started, said: "The attacks however are not perfect - they have a certain error rate when trying to steal copies of memory, and we expect that this error rate, coupled with the need for them to exactly recover the entire scattered key, will make the attacks impractical. If we're off in our math, then we still have a few improvements to make."

OpenSSH is the most widely used implementation of the secure shell protocol.


Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here

GRAND OPENING OF THE ITWIRE SHOP

The much awaited iTWire Shop is now open to our readers.

Visit the iTWire Shop, a leading destination for stylish accessories, gear & gadgets, lifestyle products and everyday portable office essentials, drones, zoom lenses for smartphones, software and online training.

PLUS Big Brands include: Apple, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, Sennheiser and many more.

Products available for any country.

We hope you enjoy and find value in the much anticipated iTWire Shop.

ENTER THE SHOP NOW!

INTRODUCING ITWIRE TV

iTWire TV offers a unique value to the Tech Sector by providing a range of video interviews, news, views and reviews, and also provides the opportunity for vendors to promote your company and your marketing messages.

We work with you to develop the message and conduct the interview or product review in a safe and collaborative way. Unlike other Tech YouTube channels, we create a story around your message and post that on the homepage of ITWire, linking to your message.

In addition, your interview post message can be displayed in up to 7 different post displays on our the iTWire.com site to drive traffic and readers to your video content and downloads. This can be a significant Lead Generation opportunity for your business.

We also provide 3 videos in one recording/sitting if you require so that you have a series of videos to promote to your customers. Your sales team can add your emails to sales collateral and to the footer of their sales and marketing emails.

See the latest in Tech News, Views, Interviews, Reviews, Product Promos and Events. Plus funny videos from our readers and customers.

SEE WHAT'S ON ITWIRE TV NOW!

BACK TO HOME PAGE
Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous

WEBINARS ONLINE & ON-DEMAND

GUEST ARTICLES

VENDOR NEWS

Guest Opinion

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News

Comments