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New Class of Malware Attacks Specific Chips

By Technology Review

November 12, 2010



Computer malware is insidious and dangerous but there are well known limits to the kinds of attacks that it can be used to mount. One of the most obvious is that the malware has to be targeted at a weakness in a specific operating system.

So there's no shortage of malware targeting the Windows operating system, for example, but this is easy enough to avoid by using a Mac.

But Anthony Desnos and friends at the Ecole Superiore d'Informatique, Electronique, Automatique (ESIEA) in Paris say it ought to be possible to make malware much more insidious. Today, they show how to create malware that targets a specific processor rather than the operating system that runs on it. That kind of attack is much harder to protect against.

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