Security researchers warn of a memory-related vulnerability that will affect devices running 64-bit Linux, and are still unsure if this physical exploit can be found within other operating systems as well.  Last year, researchers proved that the concept, “bit-flipping” was indeed possible by continually accessing minute regions of memory within a RAM chip.  This, inevitably confuses the RAM, and can actually change the contents of the binary value, either to 0 or 1.  In other words, if a user continually requests data from memory, this data can actually edit its value on the system.

The ability to alter contents of memory that is not privy to public access could have dire consequences.  This can provide a user or application which is supposed to have very limited access with full administrative privileges, just by a slight modification of the memory.  The next step for a hacker would be to run popular black hat exploits or initialize malware on the system to attempt to hijack the machine.

While this method of exploitation is not entirely easy to perform, it shines new light on the future of hacking.  This is now another vulnerability security professionals must take into consideration when attempting to safeguard a network.  Manufacturers should see this as a warning sign of things to come, and must begin to mitigate the risks in their hardware to ensure data security.

If you have any further questions regarding this vulnerability, email
Nate Gravel – Director of the Information Security Practice at ngravel@gravoc.com

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