October 21, 2019
Hot Topics:

Secret Debugger Found in AMD Chips

  • November 17, 2010
  • By Developer.com Staff

A hacker who calls himself "Czernobyl" discovered a secret debugger installed on all AMD processors made in the past 10 years.

"AMD processors (Athlon XP and better) have included firmware-based debugging features that expand greatly over standard, architecturally defined capabilities of x86," Czernobyl said. "For some reason though, AMD has been tightly secretive about these features."

The debugger is password protected, but the hacker was able to brute-force it.

Tom Jowitt of eWeek Europe wrote, "There are concerns that the debugging feature could reveal exactly how AMD's chips work, allowing them to be reverse engineered. It also means that there could be a possible security risk, as Czernobyl published a full set of instructions for turning the debugging feature on."

Czernobyl brushed aside security concerns.

"What is described herein does not pose new security problems per se; after all MSRs and Control Registers aren't accessible except from ring zero," he said. "Nor are the Host's CRs and MSRs accessible from a properly designed Virtual machine. I doubt the newly disclosed features will open security risks that were not already present due to poor OS and/or virtualisation systems designs."

View Article

Originally published on https://www.developer.com.

Enterprise Development Update

Don't miss an article. Subscribe to our newsletter below.

Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date