Intel SGX Secure Enclaves Broken with “Plundervolt” Attack


Intel SGX was meant to be the chipmaker’s answer to bulletproof security: a way of partitioning sensitive information into enclaves, using hardware-based isolation and memory encryption. Microsoft Azure uses the technique to protect data in the cloud; IBM uses it as part of its “Cloud Data Shield” and Fortanix has built its offering on SGX.

Now two teams of academics, including a professor at the UK’s University of Birmingham, say they have successfully demonstrated an attack on Intel SGX enclaces that abuses a previously undocumented software-based interface to attack the CPU and extract cryptographic keys, by “undervolting” the CPU, or

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