AMD acknowledges a vulnerability in its GPU driver that could crash your PC

(Image credit: AMD)

If your PC is prone to those dreaded 'blue screen of death' (BSOD) errors and you are running a Radeon GPU, the culprit could be your graphics driver. And more specifically, a denial-of-service vulnerability that will not be fixed until sometime next year.

Security researchers at Cisco discovered the security flaw, noting that it can be "triggered by executing the D3DKMTCreateAllocation function with malformed data. This leads to an out-of-bounds read vulnerability in AMD ATIKMDAG.SYS driver."

The resulting actions by an attacker could potentially lead to an out-of-bounds read exploit and denial-of-service, which in turns crashes the PC with a BSOD. It can also be triggered by non-privileged (read: guest) accounts.

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This particular vulnerability has a 7.1 Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) rating, based on a 0 to 10 scale, with 10 being the most serious. AMD acknowledged Cisco's disclosure and the possibility for a BSOD to occur, but said it believes "confidential information and long-term functionality are not impacted." So it sounds more like a potential annoyance than a serious security threat.

Putting on its Captain Obvious cap, AMD also said an affected user "can resolve the issue by restarting the computer." That's opposed to staring at a BSOD forever—blue is supposed to have a calming effect, after all—if your PC is not already configured to automatically restart after a crash.

AMD will offer a more permanent fix through a future graphics driver update, in the first quarter of 2021.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).