Security flaw lets attackers recover private keys from Qualcomm chips

Brink

Staff member
mvp
Devices using Qualcomm chipsets, and especially smartphones and tablets, are vulnerable to a new security bug that can let attackers retrieve private data and encryption keys that are stored in a secure area of the chipset known as the Qualcomm Secure Execution Environment (QSEE).

Qualcomm has deployed patches for this bug (CVE-2018-11976) earlier this month; however, knowing the sad state of Android OS updates, this will most likely leave many smartphones and tablets vulnerable for years to come.

WHAT IS THE QSEE?

The vulnerability impacts how the Qualcomm chips (used in hundreds of millions of Android devices) handles data processed inside the QSEE.

The QSEE is a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), similar to Intel's SGX.

It's a hardware-isolated area on Qualcomm chips where the Android OS and app developers can send data to be processed in a safe and secure environment, where the Android OS and no other app can reach and access the sensitive data, except the application that placed the data there, in the first place.

Data processed inside the QSEE usually includes private encryption keys and passwords, but the QSEE can handle anything an app wants to hide from prying eyes...

Read more: Security flaw lets attackers recover private keys from Qualcomm chips | ZDNet
 

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