Ok, so these "AMD flaws" are nowhere near anything like Meltdown or Spectre.

According to their "whitepaper", it lets you pwn your PSP and chipset if you already have root access on the main CPU. In the worst case, it's like the Intel ME BUP bug from december.
It's useful for researchers, coreboot porting, breaking DRM, etc. But it's no use for a remote (or even unprivileged local) attacker.

Their website makes it look way more dangerous than it is.

Then there's a lot of fishy stuff, like
- too much effort went into the website's design
- the website has lots of infographics and not-very-specific text, repeating the same things over and over again
- the whitepaper doesn't look like a whitepaper, and seems to be written with non-technical people in mind, especially the first few pages
- they have a huge legal disclaimer that says they may have financial interest in the value of AMD shares
- cts-labs.com exists for less than 1 year

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@Wolf480pl also they only gave AMD 24 hours notice. 'responsible' disclosure my ass.

@samis @Wolf480pl I don't know what website you two are talking about, but picking on researchers for disclosing PSP flaws is, IMO, ridiculous.

PSP itself is a flaw. A malignant tumor that shouldn't exist.

Shame on you two for defending it.

@taoeffect @samis
I'm not defending PSP, but it's problematic only as long as we can't control it.

And I'm not picking on researchers for disclosing the flaws. I'm picking on them for making it look like a CPU flaw, like-Meltdown-except-worse. And telling people that their network is in danger because of it.

Also, the researchers didn't disclose any technical details, ust a bunch of noise.
It just looks like a hoax or an attempt to harm AMD by spreading FUD.


@Wolf480pl @samis PSP is like-Meltdown-except-worse. I see nothing wrong with that description of it.

@taoeffect @samis No it isn't. You can't exploit a flaw in PSP from an unprivileged process. Or from JS running in the browser. You have to be root to exploit PSP. At which point, why bother doing that, you got root anyway.

@Wolf480pl @samis Meltdown doesn't give you total control over a computer. PSP does (my understanding), and it does so with no defense or mitigation possible.

A purposefully-built unstoppable backdoor is worse than an accidental design-flaw.

@taoeffect @samis But you have to already have total control over a computer in order to use PSP to gain total control over the computer.

@Wolf480pl @samis Eh, I doubt that. Is there proof that there's no master key?

@Wolf480pl @samis I'm more than OK with websites bringing up PSP and Intel ME and throwing as much fear and doubt on those abominations as possible. Not enough of that being done.

@taoeffect @samis

But this is false information. They're telling people that because of these vulns, their computers are in danger, while in fact they aren't.

Also, they're doing it asymmetrically. It looks like it's designed to make everyone switch from AMD to Intel. And even if it's not on purpose, that'll be the effect. And Intel has enough power as it is.

@Wolf480pl @samis

> while in fact they aren't.

Who says they aren't? There's every reason to believe they are. Again, show me proof a master key doesn't exist.

(Does PSP have a built-in server constantly listening in like Intel ME?)

> It looks like it's designed to make everyone switch from AMD to Intel.

Where do they do that? "Intel" isn't mentioned on the page.

@taoeffect @samis
>"Intel" isn't mentioned on this page
Think for a minute.
This page is clearly not made with tech gurus who know RISC-V in mind. It's for an average reader who knows just 2 CPU makes: Intel and AMD. It says AMD is bad. If you have only AMD and Intel to choose from, and AMD is bad, you buy Intel.

@samis @taoeffect
As for "they aren't in danger", I didn't make myself clear:
These flaws do not cause these computers to be in danger. They aren't any more in danger than they would be if these flaws didn't exist.

As for the master key, due to Occam's Razor, it doesn't exist until there's a proof that it does exist.

@Wolf480pl @samis That's not how Occam's Razor works.

The simplest explanation for why they would build a hardware-remote-control is to [expletive]ing remote control computers.

@Wolf480pl @samis One doesn't need _HARDWARE_ to remote control a computer. You can do it with hundreds of available software. Why would they go to the trouble of making hardware? β€” to make it unstoppable.

@taoeffect @samis Have you ever installed an OS remotely?
Or have you ever had to hard-reset a computer on which all software was hanging, and the computer was at the other end of the city?

@Wolf480pl @samis Yes, I have installed OS's remotely, and it never required the use of Intel ME or AMD PSP.

I have never had to hard-reset a computer on the other end of the city, but if I did I would have someone go there (or someone who is already there) and hard reset it.

These are not features consumers asked for, want, or need.

@taoeffect @samis these are features that are required in server rooms, and in places where you have a ton of workstations all alike, managed by a central IT team.
Like a computer room at a school or university. Or in a big corpo.

@Wolf480pl @samis I haven't heard of specific universities or companies using Intel ME or AMD PSP β€” I'm sure some exist, but I _know_ they don't need PSP/ME to do such admin.

The point is that these are insane backdoors that shouldn't exist in consumer products in the first place.

@Wolf480pl @samis These are backdoors that one is welcome to offer as a speciality product for a niche market that's interested in such backdoors.

@Wolf480pl @samis Consumer products, OTOH, should be Backdoor Freeβ„’ by default.

@taoeffect @samis Your definition of backdoor seems pretty broad. Do you also consider an ssh daemon to be a backdoor?

@Wolf480pl @samis Not if you installed it yourself (unless sshd has a built-in backdoor I'm not aware of).

@taoeffect @samis ok, so if you put an iso of your favourite Linux distro, run the installer, and it installs sshd by default, then it's a backdoor?

@Wolf480pl @samis Uh, without your permission? Definitely going into backdoor territory then.

Unauthenticated β€” definite backdoor.

Authenticated with password β€” most-likely a backdoor.

Authenticated with pubkey only β€” questionable practice.


@taoeffect @samis well, for me, it's not a backdoor unless there was a malicious intent behind it.

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@Wolf480pl @samis For me intent isn't relevant because it's almost impossible to tell one way or the other.

It's the harm that's caused to users that ultimately matters.

Were you negligent in your design? Should you have known better? Did you practice questionable practices?



And ultimately, if it can be used as a backdoor, it's a backdoor.

@Wolf480pl @taoeffect @samis

There's a saying I assume you haven't heard based on your toot : "the road to hell is paved with good intentions"

@Solophax @taoeffect @samis you can get to hell by accident.
For me, backdoor is a vulnerability made on purpose. If it was done by accident, with good intentions, then it's just a vulnerability.

@taoeffect @Solophax @samis
I don't. That's why I don't call it a backdoor.
Every backdoor is a vulnerability.
Not every vulnerability is a backdoor.
I don't know if it's a backdoor or not, so I just call it "vulnerability".

@Wolf480pl @Solophax @samis I call it a backdoor because they chose to create it, and I can't imagine a legitimate reason for the existence of PSP.

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