Intel plans malware protection memory tagging

Malware attack techniques such as Return Oriented Programming (ROP) and Jump Oriented Programming (JOP) misuse code fragments from other programs that are already in the main memory (RAM). In order to make such attacks more difficult, techniques such as Pointer Authentication Code (PAC, ARM64 from ARMv8.3), Control-Flow Enforcement Technology (CET, Intel x86-64 from Tiger Lake) and, in the future, memory tagging are used. ARM specified Memory Tagging Extensions (MTE) as early as 2018 for the ISA variant ARMv8.5, but processor cores compatible with this are not yet on the market. Now Intel Fellow Martin Dixon has announced memory tagging for future Intel processors at the Intel Architecture Day 2020. However, Dixon did not name a specific CPU generation or a delivery year. For comparison: CET with the “Tiger Lake” processors will probably go on sale from autumn 2020, but was announced four years ago. Accordingly, memory tagging at Intel would be expected from around 2024. Microsoft plans to use CET in a future Windows 10 version. Microsoft security experts Tony Chen and David Chisnall also have a report on in 2019 Pointer tagging for memory safety released. Of the Linux kernel already has a patch for using ARM MTE. Also Google Research writes about memory tagging and Android should also use it can.
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