GPU Malware paper is a hit
30 September 2010
Our paper on GPU malware has received quite a lot of attention from popular tech-news websites.
Given the great potential of general-purpose computing on graphics processors, it is only natural to expect that malware authors will attempt to tap the powerful features of modern GPUs to their benefit. In this paper, the authors demonstrate the feasibility of implementing a malware that can utilize the GPU (PDF) to evade virus scanning applications. Moreover, the authors discuss the potential of more sophisticated attacks, like accessing the screen pixels periodically to harvest private data displayed on the user screen, or to trick the the user by displaying false, benign-looking information when visiting rogue web sites (e.g., overwriting suspicious URLs with benign-looking ones in the browser's address bar).
The Register has an overview of the paper titled "Researchers up evilness ante with GPU-assisted malware":
Computer scientists have developed proof-of-concept malware that evades traditional security defenses by running on a PC's graphics processor. The prototype taps a PC's GPU to decrypt, or unpack, a malicious payload from a file just prior to being run on a targeted machine.
Hot Hardware's article "New Whitepaper Claims GPUs Threaten Malware Security" mentions:
... The idea that a graphics card could double as a security hole isn't something we've heard before, but according to a paper by Giorgos Vasiliadis, Michalis Polychronakis and Sotiris Ionnidis, it's an attack vector whose popularity could boom in coming years. ...
... The threat is credible enough that we suspect to see additional safeguards and detection systems developed as time goes by. ...
It is very encouraging to see that part of the i-Code research receives so much coverage and stirs online conversations outside the research community.