Computer scientists at the University of California at Riverside have found that GPUs are vulnerable to side-channel attacks, the same kinds of exploits that have impacted Intel and AMD CPUs.
Two professors and two students, one a computer science doctoral student and a post-doctoral researcher, reverse-engineered a Nvidia GPU to demonstrate three attacks on both graphics and computational stacks, as well as across them. The researchers believe these are the first reported side-channel attacks on GPUs.
A side-channel attack is one where the attacker uses how a technology operates, in this case a GPU, rather than a bug or flaw in the code. It takes advantage of how the processor is designed and exploits it in ways the designers hadn’t thought of.