Chrome 90 Will Utilize AMD and Intel Hardware Security Features

Source: The Register Chrome 90 Will Utilize AMD and Intel Hardware Security Features

Ready CET, Go!

If you are running a Tiger Lake or Zen 3 processor on a recent version of Windows 10 you now have the option to enable chip level security on Chrome 90 to help protect against some types of attacks you may encounter while browsing.  The combination of one of those chips and Win10 20H1 or newer allows Chrome to make use of Control-flow Enforcement Technology to mitigate code reuse attacks that make use of the RET instruction to steer your CPU core to addresses specified by an attacker, in order string together tasks in a malicious way.

When enabled CET creates a read only section of memory to hold what they are calling a shadow stack, in essence a clean copy of primary stack running on the CPU which the processor can use to check if it is being steered in an unexpected way.  With that reference handy the processor is able to ensure that a program’s control flow can’t be derailed and used to inject commands which have no business being called or executed.  If the chip detects differences it should be able to end that process before anything bad happens.

Those unsure if they are able to make use of CET can fire up the details tab in task manager add the the Hardware-enforced Stack Protection column to what is displayed on that tab.  If your machine can make use of this protection then Chrome and any other compatible process will show “Compatible Modules Only” in that column.

The Register dives deeper into the specifics of the attacks this will protect against.

Version 90 of Google's Chrome browser includes a bit of extra security for users of recent versions of Windows and the latest x86 processors, in the form of hardware-enforced stack protection.

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Jeremy Hellstrom

Call it,, or PC Perspective, Jeremy has been hanging out and then working with the gang here for years. Apart from the front page you might find him on the BOINC Forums or possibly the Fraggin' Frogs if he has the time.

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