[BugTales] Da Vinci Hits a Nerve: Exploiting Huawei’s NPU Driver

Samsung’s neural processing framework has received a lot of attention from the security community since its introduction. Hardware isolation vulnerabilities have been demonstrated, both on the NPU and DSP cores (1, 2), that could be used to compromise the kernel. The surrounding kernel code was also exploited by multiple researchers to gain local privilege escalation (1, 2). I, too, explored in a previous blog post how a kmalloc overflow within the Samsung NPU kernel driver can be exploited to gain arbitrary kernel read/write access. As a follow up work, I’ve decided to investigate Huawei’s implementation of their neural processing framework. Despite being the second largest vendor on the Android market, recently there have been lot fewer technical papers published about the security of their devices.

[BugTales] A Nerve-Racking Bug Collision in Samsung's NPU Driver

Introduction Last summer I have discovered several vulnerabilities in the implementation of Samsung’s NPU device driver. While I was working on completing my proof of concept exploit, Ben Hawkes from Google’s Project Zero reported the same vulnerabilities to Samsung. Later that year Brandon Azad released an article documenting his approach of turning these bugs into an arbitrary kernel code execution exploit. At the same time, the team of aSiagaming, yeonnic, and say2 also found the same bugs and published a writeup, focusing on their method of exploitation and the post exploitation steps required to obtain root. What makes the initial bugs interesting, besides the triple collision, is that they provide two very distinct avenues for exploitation.