Home / Tech News / Google discloses vulnerability in Chrome OS 'built-in security key' feature

Google discloses vulnerability in Chrome OS 'built-in security key' feature

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Google is urging Chromebook customers to replace units to mend a important vulnerability in an experimental Chrome OS characteristic that handles two-factor authentication procedures.

The vulnerability affects the Chrome OS characteristic referred to as the “integrated safety key.” The characteristic works by means of permitting customers to make use of a Chromebook software very similar to a hardware-based USB/NFC/Bluetooth safety key.

The characteristic can be utilized when registering or logging right into a web site. Customers can press the Chromebook energy button, which is able to ship a cryptographic token to the web site, very similar to how a vintage hardware key would most often paintings. The adaptation is that the consumer is the usage of his Chromebook as evidence of possession and identification, as an alternative of a small USB, NFC, or Bluetooth-based key.

Vulnerability present in H1 chip firmware

However previous this 12 months, Google engineers came upon a vulnerability within the firmware of H1 chips, which can be used to procedure the cryptographic operations a part of the “integrated safety key” characteristic.

Google discovered that the chip’s firmware was once mishandling some operations, and by chance chopping the period of a few cryptographic signatures, making them more uncomplicated to wreck. Google’s technical rationalization is underneath:

We came upon a vulnerability within the H1 safety chip firmware relating to ECDSA signature technology. The firmware code used incompatible switch directions when passing a important secret worth to the cryptographic hardware block, leading to producing secret values of a selected construction and having a vital lack of entropy in the name of the game worth (64 bits as an alternative of 256 bits). We showed that the unsuitable technology of the name of the game worth permits it to be recovered, which in flip permits the the underlying ECC non-public key to be acquired. Thus, attackers that experience a unmarried pair of signature and signed knowledge can successfully compute the non-public key, breaking any capability or protocols that use the important thing pair in query.

In consequence, Google says that attackers who download “a unmarried pair of signature and signed knowledge” can faux the consumer’s safety key with no need get right of entry to to the consumer’s Chrome OS software.

Slight probability of abuse

Pairs of signatures and signed knowledge are exchanged between Chrome OS units and internet sites, all through the method of registering or logging into an account.

“We do not be expecting the prone signatures to were uncovered widely as they are going to generally be handed throughout HTTPS connections,” Google stated, in regards to the possibilities of attackers intercepting the information wanted for assaults whilst in transit around the web.

“On the other hand, for the reason that signature isn’t thought to be delicate within the U2F [Universal 2nd Factor] protocols, it could be insufficient to suppose that no signatures were noticed or logged / saved in places the place they nonetheless is also retrieved from,” Google additionally added.

“As such, the integrated U2F authenticator characteristic that has generated prone signatures the usage of the prone H1 firmware will have to be thought to be cryptographically damaged.”

However Google additionally provides that this isn’t a reason why to panic. First, despite the fact that attackers download signatures and acquire the non-public key to create different signatures, they might have best damaged the second one ingredient within the vintage two-factor authentication procedure.

Attackers would nonetheless wish to know or have a consumer’s password to wreck into accounts.

Moreover, Google says that even a weakened U2F resolution continues to be manner out of the succeed in of maximum attackers, maximum of which interact in phishing operations and would not have the technical acumen to assault the second one ingredient. So in principle, maximum Chromebook customers must be protected.

“However, we advise customers to take remediation steps as described underneath to keep away from the danger of operating with a cryptographically weakened U2F authenticator,” Google stated.

Firmware repair to be had

“Complete remediation calls for each a firmware repair and retiring key pairs that experience generated prone signatures,” the corporate added. The whole steps are underneath.

  1. Replace to Chrome OS 75 or later to obtain a repair for the H1 chip firmware. Manufacturing H1 firmware variations with a model collection of zero.three.14 and previous include the vulnerability. Variations zero.three.15 and later don’t seem to be prone. The H1 firmware model is indexed at the chrome://device web page underneath cr50_version, in particular the RW line.
  2. Make an inventory of your accounts on web sites the place you may have registered a safety key generated by means of Chrome OS’ integrated safety key characteristic. 
  3. Unregister the Chrome OS integrated safety key from these kind of products and services. Actual directions range by means of provider, however usually there are “account settings” or “safety settings” that checklist registered safety keys and provide the possibility to take away / unregister safety keys. There’s no wish to alternate passwords or different account safety settings.
  4. (non-compulsory) Assessment contemporary a success logins to products and services to resolve whether or not there may be anything else suspicious.
  5. If you happen to won a “Inner safety key calls for reset” notification, click on “Reset” at the notification to stop it from appearing once more.

Impacted Chromebook fashions

Google stated that best Chromebook variations that strengthen the H1 chip and the integrated safety key characteristic are impacted. On the other hand, if customers by no means used the characteristic, they don’t seem to be impacted.

However, Google recommends updating units to Chrome OS 75 and above, as a precaution, in case they come to a decision to make use of the characteristic sooner or later. Customers can seek advice from the Chrome OS chrome://model web page to look what type/codename their software has, and examine it the checklist underneath.

  • akali360 – Acer Chromebook Spin 13 (CP713-1WN)
  • akali – Acer Chromebook 13  (CB713-1W)
  • alan – HP Chromebook 11 G6 EE
  • aleena – Acer Chromebook 315
  • ampton – ASUS Chromebook Turn C214
  • apel – ASUS Chromebook C204
  • astronaut – Acer Chromebook 11 (C732)
  • babymako – ASUS chromebook C403
  • babymega – ASUS Chromebook C223
  • babytiger – ASUS Chromebook C523
  • barla – HP Chromebook 11A G6 EE
  • basking – ASUS Chromebook C213NA/C213SA
  • bigdaddy – HP Chromebook 14 / HP Chromebook 14 G5
  • blacktip360 – CTL chromebook NL7T-360
  • blacktip – CTL chromebook NL7
  • blacktiplte – CTL Chromebook NL7 LTE
  • blue – Acer Chromebook 15 CB315-1H / 1HT
  • bobba360 – Acer Chromebook Spin 511
  • bobba – Acer Chromebook 311
  • bob – ASUS Chromebook Turn C101PA
  • bruce – Acer Chromebook Spin 15 CP315-1H / 1HT
  • careena – HP Chromebook 14 db0000-db0999
  • dru – Acer Chromebook Tab 10 (D651N / D650N)
  • druwl – CTL Chromebook Tab Tx1
  • dumo – ASUS Chromebook Pill CT100
  • electro – Acer Chromebook Spin 11 (R751T / CP511)
  • epaulette – Acer Chromebook 514
  • eve – Google Pixelbook
  • fleex – Dell Chromebook 3100
  • grabbiter – Dell Chromebook 3100 2in1
  • kasumi360 – Chromebook Spin 311 (R721T)
  • kasumi – Chromebook 311 (C721)
  • kench – HP Chromebox G2
  • lava – Acer Chromebook Spin 11 (CP311-1H & CP311-1HN)
  • liara – Lenovo 14e Chromebook
  • meep – HP Chromebook x360 11 G2 EE
  • mimrock – HP Chromebook 11 G7 EE
  • nasher360 – Dell Chromebook 11 2-in-1 5190
  • nasher – Dell Chromebook 11 5190
  • nautiluslte – Samsung Chromebook Plus (LTE)
  • nautilus – Samsung Chromebook Plus (V2)
  • nocturne – Pixel Slate
  • orbatrix – Dell Chromebook 3400
  • pantheon – Yoga C630 Chromebook
  • phaser360 – Lenovo 300e/500e Chromebook second Gen

Google launched Chrome OS 75 in overdue June. The corporate disclosed the U2F ECDSA vulnerability impacting H1 chips in early July. The one complaint is that the corporate did not widely put it up for sale the problem, best publishing an advisory at the Chromium OS safety advisories web page.

Beginning with Chrome OS 76, Google additionally began appearing an alert, asking Chromebook customers to reset their integrated safety key, to take away any older keys that have been generated by means of the older H1 chip firmware.


Symbol: Google

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