CPU branch tracing is an Exploit Prevention feature that was previously enabled by default. Sophos has temporarily disabled this functionality in light of a recent Windows Update and unwanted detections.
The following sections:
Applies to the following Sophos products and versions Enterprise ConsoleSophos Central Admin
CPU branch tracing feature is the Branch-based (Hardware Augmented Control-Flow Integrity) mitigation for Return Oriented Programming (ROP) exploits. The processor hardware itself offers read-only data to augment the detection of exploit attacks at run-time.
Sophos disabled this feature due to an increase in detections caused by several Windows, Office, browser and graphics driver updates that have been released to mitigate against Spectre attacks. These updates have changed the way DLLs are loaded, causing an increase in unwanted detections in regards to this feature.
For Central customers, this has already been disabled. For On-Premise customers, an update is in the works and will be pushed out as soon as possible.
You are still protected against this type of attack vector as this is not our only protection against Return Oriented Programming attack. Sophos still has Stack-based ROP mitigation (Caller) feature. The stack-based mitigation is also our primary line of defense against ROP exploits.
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