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Apple: MIT discovered security flaw in Apple M1 chips

Processor series apple m1 it is present in countless Cupertino products. Indeed, from its MacBooks to Mac Minis and even the iPad Pro tablets in the top-of-the-range configuration, this chipset revolutionized the North American company.

Its prowess in terms of processing power and resource optimization left the rest of the industry virtually speechless when it was introduced in 2020. However, this Silicon M1 it is not without its flaws and security holes.

PACMAN Threatens Apple M1 Silicon Processors

apple m1

Now we see, by the way, an investigation by the American institute MIT reporting a cybersecurity flaw in Apple’s M1 chipsets. At stake is the so-called PACMAN threat with the potential to be exploited in malicious attacks on products.

The case was first reported by publications MacWorld Y 9to5Mac, both citing MIT researchers. It should be noted that this worrying news comes a few days after Apple itself presented the second generation of its processors, the Apple M2. He did it during the WWDC 2022 annual conference where we also meet new physical products.

Paying attention to this security flaw, we are faced with the high-risk vulnerability called “PACMAN”. This name was given taking into account its modus operandi which points to the Apple M1 Pointer Authentication Code (PAC) system.

The security flaw cannot be fixed with a patch of software

As explained by the MacWorld publication in question, it is the authentication system (pointer), a security feature that aims to protect the CPU from an attacker who has gained access to memory.

You pointers o Pointers store the memory address and later compare any anomalous behavior or change in the pointers caused by an attack or unauthorized access. However, if the offender goes through the controls of the pointers you have virtually unlimited access to the computer.

More specifically, MacWorld reports the testimony of MIT researcher Joseph Ravichandran, one of the leaders in the investigation of this type of threat. There we also see the destructive potential of PACMAN if it is exploited by someone with knowledge of its implications.

To prove his thesis, MIT managed to perform a remote attack on Apple M1 chipset machines using the PACMAN methodology. The worst of all? This fault cannot be corrected with a simple patch of software

On the other hand, for the average consumer this threat should not represent a major problem. It is MIT’s belief that the issue does not pose an immediate risk to users, and it is unlikely that anyone would be able to replicate its steps to gain full access to a machine with the Apple M1 chip.

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