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Western Digital Finds Replay Attack Protection Flaw Affecting Multiple Vendors

A vulnerability identified recently by researchers at storage giant Western Digital in the Replay Protected Memory Block (RPMB) protocol impacts the products of several other major companies, including Google, Intel and MediaTek.

A vulnerability identified recently by researchers at storage giant Western Digital in the Replay Protected Memory Block (RPMB) protocol impacts the products of several other major companies, including Google, Intel and MediaTek.

Replay attacks typically allow a hacker to conduct various types of activities on behalf of a legitimate user by intercepting data and replaying it at a later time. Such attacks can be useful for hijacking accounts or conducting financial fraud.

The RPMB feature is designed to protect devices against replay attacks by providing an authenticated and protected area for storing data that ensures each message is unique and cannot be replayed. RPMB is often found in tablets and phones that use flash storage technology, such as NVMe, UFS and eMMC.

Researchers at Western Digital discovered that the RPMB protocol fails to provide proper protection against replay attacks.

“An attacker with physical access to a device can cause a mismatch between the write state or contents of the RPMB area and a trusted component of the device. These mismatches can lead to the trusted component believing a write command failed when in fact it succeeded, or the trusted component believing that certain content was written when in fact different content (unmodified by the attacker) was written,” CERT/CC wrote in an advisory published on Tuesday.

Western Digital determined that the underlying vulnerability, which it tracks as CVE-2020-13799, impacts the products of several other vendors as well, including Intel (CVE-2020-12355), Google (CVE-2020-0436) and MediaTek.

In an advisory released on Tuesday, Intel, which classified the flaw as medium severity, said the RPMB subsystem used in its trusted execution technology (TXE) could allow an unauthenticated attacker who has physical access to a device to escalate privileges.

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Google and MediaTek do not appear to have released advisories for the vulnerability. WD has advised MediaTek customers to contact the vendor for more information and remediation advice.

CERT/CC noted in its advisory that one vendor, which it did not name, confirmed that the vulnerability could lead to denial of service (DoS).

Western Digital has published a whitepaper and a security bulletin as part of what it described as an “industry-wide coordinated vulnerability disclosure process to promote security in embedded storage applications.”

Related: NETGEAR Router, WD NAS Device Hacked on First Day of Pwn2Own Tokyo 2020

Related: Intel Patches Privilege Escalation Flaw in Rapid Storage Technology

Related: Zyxel Patches Zero-Day Vulnerability in Network Storage Products

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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