Load Value Injection: A New Intel Attack Bypasses SGX with Significant Performance Mitigation Concerns

Microarchitectural attacks have been all the rage. For the past two years, we’ve seen attacks like Meltdown, Spectre, Foreshadow/L1TF, Zombieload, and variants all discuss different ways to probe or leak data from a victim to a host. A new attack, published on March 10th by the same research teams that found the previous exploits, turns this principle on its head, and allows an attacker to inject their own values into the victim’s code. The data injection can either be instructions or memory addresses, allowing the attacker to obtain data from the victim. This data injection bypasses even stringent security enclave environments, such as Intel’s Software Guard Extensions (SGX), and the attackers claim that successful mitigation may result in a slowdown of 2x to 19x for any SGX code.