M1 Macs suffer from a bug that cannot be fixed

MIT researchers have discovered a flaw in a security system built directly into Apple’s M1 processor. Without presenting an immediate risk, it is quite serious as it cannot be fixed by a software update.

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Hardly the new processor M2 announced that researchers have discovered a bug in Apple’s M1 processor which is specially equipped the MacBook. A team off Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States published an article in which they revealed a bug called “Pacman” that manages to bypass the processor’s last line of defense.

One of the security measures implemented in the processor M1 is called Point Authentication Code (LID) or Pointer Authentication Code, a cryptographic signature that confirms that a program has not been tampered with. The PAC is designed to protect against memory-level code injection and buffer overflows.

A security system is also planned on other ARM processors

The researchers managed to create an attack that manages to guess this code through speculative execution. It even works against the kernel. They haven’t tested the new M2 processor, but this one also uses the codes pointer authentication. This security measure is also provided inother processors with ARM architecture, especially those from Qualcomm and Samsung, used in most smartphones. The bug could therefore have important implications in the future.

Because this vulnerability is at the hardware level, a software update cannot fix it. Nevertheless, Apple wants to calm down. PACs are an additional line of defense to prevent exploitation of certain vulnerabilities. Any attack on Pacman must therefore first find another system bug to be effective. Devices with M1 chips are therefore not at risk, at least for the time being, as long as you keep your device up to date.

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