The VUSec team at the Free University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands has demonstrated an exploit that undercuts address space layout randomization (ASLR), a basic safeguard used in all modern operating systems.
The malevolent code overwrites the processor's cache, one unit of memory at a time, until the MMU decelerates. "The cache is like the cogs in the safe that produce those little clicks that allow you to crack it," Gras notes.
The VUSec team says correcting the exploit will require new chips with architectures that partition the MMU and its page table from the cache.
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