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Intel CPU Vulnerabilities Could be Used in MDS Attacks

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On May 14, a new class of Intel CPU vulnerabilities was published by the microchip giant. Known as speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities, they affect almost every Intel processor produced since 2011 – this includes a great number of servers, laptops, and smartphones. Crucially, its virtual machines on the public cloud are also impacted by these vulnerabilities.

What are the new Intel CPU Vulnerabilities?

The Intel CPU vulnerabilities — dubbed as MDS attacks (microarchitectural data sampling) — almost all involve the speculative execution design feature found in all modern processors. The vulnerabilities could leak arbitrary data from different CPU internal buffers: line fill buffers, load ports or store buffers.

They include:

  • CVE-2018-12126 a.k.a. Fallout attack. It’s “just” an information disclosure vulnerability at the MSBDS (microarchitectural store buffer data sampling). Fallout is rated as medium severity, with CVSS score of 6.5, as it requires local access and privileges.
  • CVE-2018-12130 aka Zombieload or RIDL (rogue in-flight data load): Again, this is “just” an information disclosure vulnerability at the MFBDS (microarchitectural fill buffer data sampling). It’s also rated medium severity, with CVSS score of 6.5.
  • CVE-2018-12127: Part of the RIDL class of attacks, this vulnerability exists in the MLPDS (microarchitectural load port data sampling).
  • CVE-2019-11091: Also part of the RIDL class of attacks, it exists in the MDSUM (microarchitectural data sampling uncacheable memory). It’s an information disclosure vulnerability, rated low severity with CVSS score of 3.8.

This are the fourth batch of CPU vulnerabilities published in just over a year. The original Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws were published in January 2018, with new similar vulnerabilities popping up in August 2018and November 2018. If this six-month drumbeat keeps up pace, it’s possible that we’ll see the next wave hit in November 2019.

Is This the Work of Cyber Criminals?

If everything you’ve read so far sounds technically dense, that’s because it is. These vulnerabilities are primarily theoretical – they were discovered by academics and, to our knowledge, haven’t yet been exploited in the wild in either distributed or targeted attacks.

While they may not have yet been touched by criminals, researchers have published a proof-of-concept exploit which demonstrates how the CPUs can leak sensitive data which has been written to the memory by the OS kernel, including root passwords hash.

What Should Skybox Customers Do?

It’s important to recognize that a logic flaw in a CPU isn’t the same as a software, or other, vulnerability. Short of changing your CPU, there’s little that you can do to fully resolve these vulnerabilities. Of course, doing so would be as impractical as it would be expensive. Like the Intel CPU vulnerabilities, this is a solution that exists better in theory than it does in practice.

What we’re left with instead are numerous mitigation strategies which emerge from collaborative work between CPU vendors (like Intel) and platform vendors (like Microsoft). What businesses need to do is gain and maintain awareness of any patches created and shared by the vendors and ensure that they are applied to all relevant platforms.

This advice is well-established as industry “best-practice,” but in respect of these speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities, we would suggest going one step further by increasing the frequency of your patch windows. Don’t stick to your regular schedule — these vulnerabilities need to be prioritized.

In this instance, Intel’s initial recommendation was that users should, “always keep [their] systems up-to-date with the latest security updates, and follow the guidance from your OS and VMM vendors”. Which is good general advice, if the patches are available (at the time that advice was published, they weren’t; now, almost a week later, they are).

The following patches were published in a coordinated release:

  • Microsoft, patching Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 10, Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2019.
  • VMWare, patching ESXi server, VMWare workstation, Fusion, vCloud servers, vCenter Server, and many other servers.
  • RedHat, patching the Linux Kernel for Enterprise Linux Server, Enterprise Linux Workstation, Enterprise Linux Virtualisation, and others.
  • Apple MacOS X servers (a patch for iOS was not released as of May 21, 2019)
  • Qemu, the open source machine emulator and virtualizer
  • Xen, hypervisor OS
  • Google Chrome OS for netbooks

 

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ASUS ROG Announces ROG Masters Asia Pacific eSports Tournament

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ASUS ROG will host its first ROG Masters Asia Pacific eSports tournament from March to April 2021. Due to COVID-19 pandemic affecting travel around the region, the tournament will be conducted entirely online, with quarterfinal to final matches livestreamed.

The ROG Masters tournament will feature Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) as the official game title will provide opportunity to teams with enthusiastic players to pitch their skills against each other, as well as the best professional teams from their market and in the region.

Tournament Structure

The tournament will see various teams from 15 markets across the region vying for the chance to be crowned as the first ROG Masters Asia Pacific Edition CS:GO Champion. 

The tournament will be played in three stages played over the course of 2 months:

  • Country qualifiers
  • Country finals
  • Asia Pacific finals

Country qualifiers matches for India will start in the second week of April 2021; 8th April and the finals to be held on the 10th April. The India finals to find the top three teams to represent the country will be livestreamed live on 10th April.

Professional teams from across the region will be automatically placed into seeded positions in the country finals. This gives a greater chance for non-professional, enthusiast teams from India to get through the qualifiers and meet the pro teams in the country finals. 

Country Champions will then go on to experience battling winning teams from other APAC markets in the finals that will be livestreamed during 22nd to 25th April 2021.

Prizes

3 qualifying teams from India finals will stand to win US$800 for first place, US$400 for second place, US$200 for third place. They will then go on to the Asia Pacific finals with the chance to win the following prizes for the championship:

ROG Masters APAC ChampionshipAPAC Finals (USD/ team)
1st$10,000
2nd$3,500
3rd$1,500

Registration and Official Tournament Website

Registration for the first ROG Masters Asia Pacific tournament opens on February 8, 2021 at the tournament’s official website.

Registration closes on February 28, 2021 Further details, match schedules, pro team information as well as rules and regulations can also be found on the tournament website.

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Garena Launches Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars

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Garena has announced the Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars, Free Fire’s first-ever esports tournament for the South Asia region. Taking place on 6 February, the tournament will feature some of the gaming community’s favourite Free Fire streamers and personalities from India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

The Free Fire community has continued to expand in South Asia and across the world, with the mobile battle royale game the most downloaded mobile game globally in 2020, according to App Annie. Through the Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars, Garena will look to continue its efforts to excite and delight its fast-growing South Asian community with exciting Free Fire content, and to support and develop the incredible online community in the region.

Tournament Format

The Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars will feature a total of 12 teams. Each team will be led by one of the top 3 streamers from each of the 4 participating nations – chosen by public voting – in this epic clash to determine the best in the region. 

The 12 teams will compete in the Battle Royale Squad mode for a slice of the 1 million diamond prize pool. The ultimate winner of this star-studded tournament will receive 500,000 in-game diamonds; the first and and second runners-up will be awarded 300,000 and 200,000 diamonds respectively. 

Invited Teams

The Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars will feature some of the most popular streamers and personalities from across South Asia. 

The team captains for each nation are: 

India

  • Total Gaming (19.4 Million YT Subs)
  • Desi Gamers (7.8 Million YT Subs)
  • Two-Side Gamers (6.85 Million YT Subs)

Bangladesh

  • Gaming with Nayeem (1.6 Million YT Subs)
  • Illusionist YT (479K YT Subs)
  • Gaming With Zihad (698K YT Subs)

Nepal 

  • Sooneeta (3.26 Million YT Subs)
  • Bshow Mgr (399K YT Subs)
  • Tonde Gamer (2.37 Million YT Subs)

Pakistan

  • RKG ARMY (1.77 Million YT Subs)
  • Unusual Gamer (81K YT Subs)
  • The Skinzo FF (75.5K YT Subs)

Broadcast Details:

Fans can witness all the high-octane action by tuning in to the live broadcasts of the Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars. These will be hosted on Free Fire Esports India YouTube and Facebook, Free Fire Bangladesh Official YouTube and Facebook, as well as on BOOYAH!. 

To cater to the diverse South Asian community, the matches will be streamed with live commentary in 5 languages – Bengali, English, Hindi, Nepali and Urdu.

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Top Gaming Accessories for Ultimate Gaming Experience

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Witnessing the consumer behaviour being impacted drastically last year, the year 2021 has welcomed an immense lifestyle change for gamers. Gaming has been one of the sectors that witnessed a spike like never before. From casual gamers to professional gamers, the segment realised immense growth in a matter of a few months. A lot of people opted for gaming for the first time with more time in hand, while amateur gamers worked on their skills to shift to pro-level. Owing to ‘isolate and chill’ mode to beat the anxiety and paranoia, a lot of people moved to ‘Play@Home’ and for many, it was rekindling their old gaming habits with the bountiful time in their grasp.

While gaming serves as a boosting engagement, it is important to have the kit and accessories to ensure the seamless and immersive experience of gaming. Especially for those who have just adopted gaming as a new hobby and do not want to invest steeply in buying the expensive accessories, we bring a perfect start-up kit to you that is sure to pave your path to the next level

Logitech G331: Enjoy the whole experience of all your favorite games with Logitech G331 gaming headset that produces big sound to get you into the game. Experience the thrill of a complete gaming experience where you hear everything and everyone hears you. The 6 mm mic ensures that your squad-mates can hear you clear and distinct. It also has an option of Flip-to-mute boom that silences you when you don’t want to be heard. The headphone is all set to work with your PC or Mac or with gaming consoles including PlayStation 4™, Xbox One™, Nintendo Switch™, and mobile devices via 3.5 mm cable. In fact, everything about these headphones is about comfort: The deluxe lightweight leatherette ear cups and headband are made to keep pressure off your ears that is available at Amazon.in at an offer price of INR 5995 .

Logitech G213: Sitting at your gaming desk in front of your gaming monitor might be the way for most PC gamers, but unless you’ve got a killer set-up with a solid keyboard, it may still not satiate your gaming soul. With a RGB color spectrum illumination lets you easily personalize up to 5 lighting zones from over 16.8 million colors to match your style and gaming gear, the Logitech G213 ensures you have a great customisable gaming experience. The G213 comes with a  performance that is up to 4x faster than standard keyboards and features keys that are specially tuned to deliver a superior tactile experience. The dedicated media control allows you to quickly play, pause, skip and adjust the volume of music right from the keyboard. the brilliant color spectrum. The G213 also offers 12 function keys with custom commands and more with free Logitech gaming software. This keyboard is available at Amazon.in at an offer price of INR 4995

Logitech G102 LIGHTSYNC: It is of paramount importance to have an exact grip and size while using a gaming mice. With LIGHTSYNC RGB lighting across, Logitech G102 is designed to work seamlessly in any system to enhance your gaming experience. The classic six-button design provides both comfort and confidence that can be customised across 16.8 million colours so you can explore, cast spells, and play just like you want. With 8,000 DPI sensor – The gaming-grade sensor responds precisely to your movements. But if you’re looking to fine-tune controls, free-to-download customization software is easy to use and set up with Logitech G HUB software. it is a complete customization suite that allows you to personalize lighting, sensitivity, and button commands on your G102 mouse. It is available in Amazon.in at an offer price of INR 1985.

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