POWER10 Adds New Instructions For Helping Fend Off ROP Exploits

Written by Michael Larabel in Programming on 11 January 2021 at 12:09 AM EST. 3 Comments
The POWER10 architecture is adding several new instructions to help prevent return-oriented programming exploits.

Hitting the GNU Assembler code this past week was support for new return-oriented programming instructions with POWER10. There are several new POWER instructions intended to help safeguard against this common security exploit means. It's also the first time we've seen these new instructions mentioned.

As it's just the assembler bits being added, it doesn't provide much context to these new ROP instructions but they include: HASHSTP, HASHCHKP, HASHST, and HASHCHK. Presumably based on the instruction names, a means of hashing the stack pointer and hashing/checking the call stack.

In any case, in this day and age it's not surprising to see an increased emphasis on CPU security features. When we learn more about all of the POWER10 features we'll be sure to pass it along. IBM continues working on their POWER10 open-source/Linux bring-up for the compiler toolchains as well as the Linux kernel.

POWER10 systems are expected to be in customer hands before the end of the calendar year while "libre" POWER10 systems are expected to not be out until at least next year for reasons yet to be publicly shared.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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