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New Flaws in TPM 2.0 Library Pose Threat to Billions of IoT and Enterprise Devices

Mar 03, 2023Ravie LakshmananEnterprise Security / IoT

Enterprises and IoT Devices

A pair of serious security defects has been disclosed in the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 reference library specification that could potentially lead to information disclosure or privilege escalation.

One of the vulnerabilities, CVE-2023-1017, concerns an out-of-bounds write, while the other, CVE-2023-1018, is described as an out-of-bounds read. Credited with discovering and reporting the issues in November 2022 is cybersecurity company Quarkslab.

“These vulnerabilities can be triggered from user-mode applications by sending malicious commands to a TPM 2.0 whose firmware is based on an affected TCG reference implementation,” the Trusted Computing Group (TCG) said in an advisory.

Large tech vendors, organizations using enterprise computers, servers, IoT devices, and embedded systems that include a TPM can be impacted by the flaws, Quarkslab noted, adding they “could affect billions of devices.”

TPM is a hardware-based solution (i.e., a crypto-processor) that’s designed to provide secure cryptographic functions and physical security mechanisms to resist tampering efforts.

“The most common TPM functions are used for system integrity measurements and for key creation and use,” Microsoft says in its documentation. “During the boot process of a system, the boot code that is loaded (including firmware and the operating system components) can be measured and recorded in the TPM.”

“The integrity measurements can be used as evidence for how a system started and to make sure that a TPM-based key was used only when the correct software was used to boot the system.”

The TCG consortium noted that the shortcomings are the result of a lack of necessary length checks, resulting in buffer overflows that could pave the way for local information disclosure or escalation of privileges.

Users are recommended to apply the updates released by TCG as well as other vendors to address the flaws and mitigate supply chain risks.

“Users in high-assurance computing environments should consider using TPM Remote Attestation to detect any changes to devices and ensure their TPM is tamper proofed,” the CERT Coordination Center (CERT/CC) said in an alert.

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