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Complexity is increasing. Trust eroding. In the wake of Spectre and Meltdown, when it seems that things cannot get any darker for processor security, the last light goes out. This talk will demonstrate what everyone has long feared but never proven: there are hardware backdoors in some x86 processors, and they're buried deeper than we ever imagined possible. While this research specifically examines a third-party processor, we use this as a stepping stone to explore the feasibility of more widespread hardware backdoors.
Christopher Domas is a security researcher and embedded systems engineer, currently investigating low level processor exploitation. He is best known for releasing impractical solutions to non-existent problems, including the world's first single instruction C compiler (M/o/Vfuscator), toolchains for generating images in program control flow graphs (REpsych), showing that all programs can be reduced to the same instruction stream (reductio), and the branchless DOOM meltdown mitigations. His more relevant work includes the sandsifter processor fuzzer, the binary visualization tool ..cantor.dust.., and the memory sinkhole x86 privilege escalation exploit.