March 8, 2018
Categorized: High Severity
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Three security vulnerabilities that allow unauthorized users to bypass the hardware barrier between applications and kernel memory have been made public. These vulnerabilities all make use of speculative execution to perform side-channel information disclosure attacks. The first two vulnerabilities, CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017- 5715, are collectively known as Spectre, and allow user-level code to infer data from unauthorized memory; the third vulnerability, CVE-2017-5754, is known as Meltdown, and allows user-level code to infer the contents of kernel memory. The vulnerabilities are all variants of the same class of attacks and differ in the way that speculative execution is exploited.
These vulnerabilities are present in many microprocessors, such as processors used by IBM Storage Appliances and IBM Storage Spectrum software running on servers, including IBM Elastic Storage Server systems. To exploit any of these vulnerabilities, an attacker must be able to run malicious code on an affected system.
IBM Storage Appliances are not impacted by this vulnerability, because unlike general purpose computing systems, they are closed systems and are designed to prevent users from loading and executing code other than code provided by IBM. Nonetheless, in an abundance of caution, IBM is evaluating firmware updates provided by the server and OS vendor(s) to IBM Storage Appliances.
In the case of IBM Cloud Object Storage systems, execution of non-IBM code is supported, but proper security credentials are required to install said code on the systems. Cloud Object Storage systems updates to address these vulnerabilities are dependent on OS vendor(s) updates being released and will be provided on FixCentral when available.
IBM Cloud Object Storage software running in a shared virtual environment and IBM Storage Spectrum software running on servers, including IBM Elastic Storage Server system (which is not a closed system), must follow the guidelines established by the server and OS vendor(s).
Before installing patches from OS vendor(s) on Spectrum Scale and Elastic Storage Server system, please refer to the interoperability matrix here.
The IBM Spectrum Protect Plus software is shipped as a virtual machine image that contains its own OS distribution and the updates for this OS distribution should be applied following the procedures outlined here. This is in addition to following the guidelines established by the server and OS vendors for the servers that host the IBM Spectrum Protect Plus image.
For all IBM storage products, we recommend implementing any firmware and OS updates in accordance with your normal procedures.
IBM currently has no knowledge of any adverse use of the vulnerabilities that are described in this advisory.