Hey, you! Yes, you there! Want to get root on thousands of computers at once? We know you do! Who wouldn’t? Then take a good look at supercomputers. They are not a monolithic and mysterious as Wintermute. Modern architecture links thousands of nodes together. Your typical supercomputer of today consists of a monoculture of systems running the same software. If you manage to break into one node, the chances are good that you have access to all nodes. That’s pretty neat.
At DeepSec 2013 John Fitzpatrick and Luke Jennings of MWR InfoSecurity talked about their tests with supercomputers. Their presentation covers the research and demonstrates some of the most interesting and significant vulnerabilities they have uncovered so far. They also demonstrated exploits and previously undocumented attack techniques live so you can see how to get root on 20,000 nodes all at once. The material they are covering affects the majority of the top 500 supercomputers.
Even if you don’t run a supercomputer in your basement or at work, we recommend to listen to their presentation.