Researchers Extract Intel CPU Encryption Key

Generic image of a CPU

Security researchers have successfully extracted the Intel CPU encryption key used to secure updates to the chip.

The key makes it possible to decrypt the microcode updates Intel provides to fix security vulnerabilities and other types of bugs. Having a decrypted copy of an update may allow hackers to reverse engineer it and learn precisely how to exploit the hole it’s patching. The key may also allow parties other than Intel—say a malicious hacker or a hobbyist—to update chips with their own microcode, although that customized version wouldn’t survive a reboot.

Of course, it’s the “other parties” to worry about. The key can be extracted from any chip that uses Intel’s Goldmont architecture. This is used for low-power chips like the Atom, Celeron, and Pentium brands.

Check It Out: Researchers Extract Intel CPU Encryption Key

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