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UCR Researchers Uncover New Hacking Methods to Steal Personal Information

By The Highlander

December 6, 2018

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University of California, Riverside (UCR) researchers in October conducted side-channel graphics processing unit (GPU) attacks using direct and cross-computational stacks, laying siege to multiple programs simultaneously.

Three demonstrations proved computer graphics cards could be manipulated to steal sensitive data.

UCR's Nael Abu-Ghazaleh said for one attack, the team tracked a user's Web history by checking the GPU's available memory for each page's layout and objects, with machine learning helping to identify the websites being accessed.

Abu-Ghazaleh said the other two attacks followed similar tactics, with the second tracking passwords by "observing the times of the allocations...when the user presses a key" before using "different inter-keystroke timing for different key pairs" to calculate likely combinations.

The third strategy targeted cloud networks because GPUs give users performance counters to optimize their experience; said Abu-Ghazaleh, "we recover the structure of a neural network, often a sensitive secret of companies."

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