Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

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Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:32 pm

Apparently, the OpenCL library for AMD GPUs contains a string named "osTestBackdoorATI". Great job, AMD engineers!

This discovered by @hashcat, of oclHashCat fame, and picked up by Phoronix.

It will be interesting to see how their PR department will try to spin this over the next few days.
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:40 pm

I highly doubt it's an honest-to-goodness backdoor... or if it is, then AMD did a crappy job of hiding it 8)
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:41 pm

I think until someone figures out what it means or AMD answers, I think it's pretty meaningless.
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:42 pm

BlackStar wrote:
It will be interesting to see how their PR department will try to spin this over the next few days.


More importantly, will anyone believe them? Let me put on my tinfoil hat for a second, could it be that bitcoin/litecoin that is spurring on the sales of AMD cards working hand in hand with the NSA's need of massive decryption via a back door? If something further comes of light because of this, it could potentially send the bitcoin/litecoin markets crashing.
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:43 pm

chuckula wrote:.. or if it is, then AMD did a crappy job of hiding it 8)


And this would surprise you?
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:52 pm

Deanjo wrote:
chuckula wrote:.. or if it is, then AMD did a crappy job of hiding it 8)


And this would surprise you?


Considering how non-existent their Mantle documentation is, I think that AMD is first-rate at hiding stuff and this would be a very out-of-character move to fail in obfuscating their backdoor technology :P
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:00 pm

chuckula wrote:Considering how non-existent their Mantle documentation is, I think that AMD is first-rate at hiding stuff and this would be a very out-of-character move to fail in obfuscating their backdoor technology :P

They've already said the Mantle SDK won't be ready for wide release for some time. I don't think they're hiding it because they want to.
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:23 pm

Savyg wrote:
chuckula wrote:Considering how non-existent their Mantle documentation is, I think that AMD is first-rate at hiding stuff and this would be a very out-of-character move to fail in obfuscating their backdoor technology :P

They've already said the Mantle SDK won't be ready for wide release for some time. I don't think they're hiding it because they want to.



I'll bet the API is finalized or in a near state since they are supposedly already developing with it. If they were serious about releasing it they would have released at least that to allow others to develop their implementation.

In short, don't hold your breath for AMD truly opening up Mantle.
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:45 pm

I expect that by year end we will see the api in some form released.
But there is no point in releasing an finished spec to the general public today.
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:50 pm

sschaem wrote:But there is no point in releasing an finished spec to the general public today.


Completely disagree. Releasing a public spec gives the opportunity to others to work on their implementation. If they released it publicly you would see the first commits to existing driver infrastructure in probably a matter of weeks in *nixland.
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:06 pm

Deanjo wrote:
Savyg wrote:
chuckula wrote:Considering how non-existent their Mantle documentation is, I think that AMD is first-rate at hiding stuff and this would be a very out-of-character move to fail in obfuscating their backdoor technology :P

They've already said the Mantle SDK won't be ready for wide release for some time. I don't think they're hiding it because they want to.



I'll bet the API is finalized or in a near state since they are supposedly already developing with it.


The rumour mill seems to be pointing towards a Mantle update being released for BF4 in the next couple of months.
Mantle will be enabled at the driver level with Catalyst 14.1 BETA which will be released son.

http://wccftech.com/amd-catalyst-14-1-b ... gpus-apus/
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:25 pm

BlackStar wrote:Apparently, the OpenCL library for AMD GPUs contains a string named "osTestBackdoorATI". Great job, AMD engineers!

This discovered by @hashcat, of oclHashCat fame, and picked up by Phoronix.

It will be interesting to see how their PR department will try to spin this over the next few days.


Spin what? All we know at this point is that the string "osTestBackdoorATI" appears. It could be nothing more than a testing tool for their development team. My guess is that if they were putting an actual back door in the sense that you mean, they'd give it a less conspicuous name...
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:29 pm

Prestige Worldwide wrote:
The rumour mill seems to be pointing towards a Mantle update being released for BF4 in the next couple of months.
Mantle will be enabled at the driver level with Catalyst 14.1 BETA which will be released son.

http://wccftech.com/amd-catalyst-14-1-b ... gpus-apus/


And that has what to do with AMD delivering an open API?
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:16 pm

According to Graham Sellers of AMD (who I understand is their OpenGL driver team lead):
Graham Sellers wrote: osTestBackdoorATI is a hook used by our automated tests to access memory usage statistics from the driver.


Source: http://twitter.com/statuses/422826826956673024
Seriously this is a ridiculous storm-in-a-teacup over nothing.
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:54 pm

It's the internet, the place where teacupstorms are worse then any real storm that ever existed...
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:57 pm

if there was a backdoor, it definitely would not be called "backdoor"
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:46 pm

codedivine wrote:According to Graham Sellers of AMD (who I understand is their OpenGL driver team lead):
Graham Sellers wrote: osTestBackdoorATI is a hook used by our automated tests to access memory usage statistics from the driver.


Source: http://twitter.com/statuses/422826826956673024
Seriously this is a ridiculous storm-in-a-teacup over nothing.


Like they would admit otherwise. Besides, that statement just points out one possible use. It's like asking a person why they have a gun, "I like to shoot skeet". It doesn't discount the possibility of darker uses.
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:57 pm

I once put a method on an object in a major, shipping piece of software called "TopSecretBackdoorSecurityHack" or something like that.

When you called it, it returned a great big blob of text with the names of all the people who worked on the release. It was dangerous...
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:01 pm

It is not uncommon to refer to an unpublished/undocumented interface as a "back door". Most complex pieces of software (and a Windows display driver defintely qualifies!) will have some form of undocumented interfaces in them to facilitate testing and debugging. No nefarious intent is implied just because it is called a "back door".

In fact, pretty much the only times I would expect to see a complex system *without* unpublished development/test hooks of some sort would be for safety (or security) critical systems, where you've got to prove to the satisfaction of someone (like the FAA) that the software does exactly what its specifications state, no more and no less.
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:06 pm

Deanjo wrote:
Prestige Worldwide wrote:
The rumour mill seems to be pointing towards a Mantle update being released for BF4 in the next couple of months.
Mantle will be enabled at the driver level with Catalyst 14.1 BETA which will be released son.

http://wccftech.com/amd-catalyst-14-1-b ... gpus-apus/


And that has what to do with AMD delivering an open API?


Nothing at all. I was just supporting your statement that Mantle is probably done or near-done.
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:51 am

just brew it! wrote:It is not uncommon to refer to an unpublished/undocumented interface as a "back door". Most complex pieces of software (and a Windows display driver defintely qualifies!) will have some form of undocumented interfaces in them to facilitate testing and debugging. No nefarious intent is implied just because it is called a "back door".

^ This
Just like a whole lot of other computer lingo, the etymology of certain words can hide quite a few different meanings compared to the current common use. Just look at the good old word hacking for another example. Although back door has probably retained much of it's meaning except that the context of usage has changed as to bring more nefarious associations to the fore.
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:28 am

Dont you all get it? It`s so obvious.... If you change two letters in AMD and move one, you get NSA!!! Whole company is just a cover for top secret government operation!
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:45 am

dodozoid wrote:Dont you all get it? It`s so obvious.... If you change two letters in AMD and move one, you get NSA!!! Whole company is just a cover for top secret government operation!


I for one have started taking the precaution of wrapping my AMD graphics cards in tin foil.
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:02 am

dodozoid wrote:Dont you all get it? It`s so obvious.... If you change two letters in AMD and move one, you get 3!!!


Half-Life 3 confirmed!
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:03 am

chuckula wrote:.....then AMD did a crappy job of hiding it 8)


Such a crappy job that even you didnt find it.

cheesyking wrote:I for one have started taking the precaution of wrapping my AMD graphics cards in tin foil.


When Mantle is released the documentation will include this step. As a side effect you will gain 2.1% FPS in all games made before 2010 and have a negative return of about 3.7% for all current gen games. But the chip will run cooler as an added bonus.
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:46 pm

Not recomended, wrapping your graphics cards in tinfoil will result in higher temperatures, and reduced framerates.
However it will protect you against harmful mind control radiation :D It is a trade off most of us are willing to make.
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:27 pm

Dagwood wrote:Not recomended, wrapping your graphics cards in tinfoil will result in higher temperatures, and reduced framerates.


That's exactly what "they" want you to believe will happen.
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Re: Backdoor in AMD GPU drivers?

Postposted on Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:59 pm

Dagwood wrote:Not recomended, wrapping your graphics cards in tinfoil will result in higher temperatures, and reduced framerates.
However it will protect you against harmful mind control radiation :D It is a trade off most of us are willing to make.

NSA shill plz go
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