CVE-2024-23212: Apple Neural Engine design has weakness in memory handling. (25th January 2024)

This announcement was originally published on January 22nd 2024

Preface: Neural networks, also known as artificial neural networks (ANNs) or simulated neural networks (SNNs), are a subset of machine learning and are at the heart of deep learning algorithms.

Recent advances in artificial intelligence systems, such as voice or facial recognition programs, have benefited from neural networks, densely interconnected meshes of simple information processors that learn to perform tasks by analyzing large amounts of training data.

Background: The Apple Neural Engine (or ANE) is a type of NPU, which stands for Neural Processing Unit. It’s like a GPU, but instead of accelerating graphics an NPU accelerates neural network operations such as convolutions and matrix multiplies.

Beyond image generation from text prompts, developers are also discovering other creative uses for Stable Diffusion, such as image editing, in-painting, out-painting, super-resolution, style transfer and even color palette generation.  Getting to a compelling result with Stable Diffusion can require a lot of time and iteration, so a core challenge with on-device deployment of the model is making sure it can generate results fast enough on device. As a result, we require the Apple Neural Engine.

Vulnerability details: Apple security advisory shown that the vulnerability belongs to Apple Neural Engine.

Impact: An app may be able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges

Description: The issue was addressed with improved memory handling.

Official announcement: Please refer to the link for details –

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