Researchers from the Vrije University in the Netherlands have revealed a new version of the infamous Rowhammer attack that is effective at compromising Linux VMs, often used for cloud hosting services.
The Rowhammer attack was discovered two years ago and caused a lot of stir when researchers disclosed it because it showed how by bombarding a row of memory cells, an attacker could reverse binary zeros into ones, and vice versa.
This allowed an attacker to manipulate a computer’s memory just by using malware that constantly hammered a row of memory cells which flipped their bits and influenced nearby memory cells into flipping their bits as well.
Flip Feng Shui (FFS) is another variation on the Rowhammer attack that also works in conjunction with memory deduplication, a process through which some operating systems free memory slots by finding duplicate entries and merging them together.
The researchers claim that an attacker can buy access to cloud servers co-hosted with his victim and using an FFS Rowhammer attack can gain control over the victim’s accounts despite the complete absence of software vulnerabilities.
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht