Mali GPU Driver Vulnerabilities Threaten Millions of Devices

Mali GPU driver vulnerabilities
Written by Emma Davis

Google Project Zero experts are alarming, becvause five vulnerabilities in the ARM Mali GPU driver remain unpatched on a variety of devices, although the chipmaker released patches several months ago. As a result, millions of Android devices may be vulnerable to potential attacks.

Let me remind you that we also wrote that AMD fixed dozens of vulnerabilities in graphics driver and more, and also that NVIDIA Released Update That Fixes Ten Vulnerabilities in Windows GPU Drivers.

According to experts, the problems affect devices from Google, Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo and other smartphone manufacturers, which are still waiting for fixes. In their report, the specialists emphasize that such patch delays regularly harm the Android supply chain, since it usually takes several months for updated firmware to reach users’ end devices.

The mentioned vulnerabilities in the ARM Mali GPU driver were discovered back in the summer of 2022. Issues are tracked under the identifiers CVE-2022-33917 and CVE-2022-36449 (a collective ID for several bugs at once).

Vulnerability CVE-2022-33917 allows an unprivileged user to perform incorrect processing operations to gain access to free memory sections. The vulnerability affects Arm Mali GPU core drivers from Valhall r29p0 to r38p0.

The second bug, CVE-2022-36449, is related to several issues that allow an unprivileged user to access freed memory, write out of buffer limits, and disclose memory mapping information. The vulnerability affects Arm Mali GPU kernel drivers from Midgard r4p0 to r32p0; Bifrost r0p0 to r38p0 and r39p0 to r38p1; as well as Valhall from r19p0 to r38p0 and r39p0 to r38p1.

The Project Zero team itself tracks these issues as 2325, 2327, 2331, 2333 and 2334, describes the technical details of the bugs in detail, and also attaches code demonstrating vulnerabilities to their reports. It is noted that despite the average severity, these vulnerabilities are easy to exploit, and they affect a huge number of Android devices.

For example, Valhall drivers are used in Mali G710, G610 and G510 chips installed on Google Pixel 7, Asus ROG Phone 6, Redmi Note 11 and 12, Honor 70 Pro, RealMe GT, Xiaomi 12 Pro, Oppo Find X5 Pro and Reno 8 Pro, Motorola Edge and OnePlus 10R.

Bifrost drivers are used in older (2018) Mali G76, G72 and G52 chips used by devices such as Samsung Galaxy S10, S9, A51 and A71, Redmi Note 10, Huawei P30 and P40 Pro, Honor View 20, Motorola Moto G60S and Realme 7.

In turn, Midgard drivers are used in even older (2016 release) Mali T800 and T700 series chips, which can be found on board the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Note 7, Sony Xperia X XA1, Huawei Mate 8, Nokia 3.1, LG X and Redmi Note 4.

Unfortunately, users will not be able to protect themselves from these vulnerabilities until the vendor provides them with the appropriate patches. Worse, it’s extremely unlikely that older smartphones using Midgard drivers will receive any fixes at all.

It is known that at the moment ARM patches have not reached the company’s OEM partners, and are being tested for Android and Pixel devices. Fixes are expected to be made available to ARM partners in the next few weeks.

However, problems with GPU drivers are observed not only on mobile devices, for example, the media reported that AMD Chipset Driver Bug Allows Bypassing KASLR And Accessing Sensitive Data.

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About the author

Emma Davis

I'm writer and content manager (a short time ago completed a bachelor degree in Marketing from the Gustavus Adolphus College). For now, I have a deep drive to study cyber security.

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