Mark Brand from Project Zero reveals the hidden feature of the Pixel 8/Pixel 8 Pro. It is the first phone capable of enabling Memory Tagging Extensions (MTE), a feature that protects against various memory-related vulnerabilities, such as user-after-free bugs. While it can be enabled, it is considered a well-deserved secret feature because users must enable USB debugging to access the feature in the console. Additionally, this feature is not officially supported, and there are certain system configurations and programs, like Chrome’s PartitionAlloc memory management system, that are excluded from utilizing this feature.
MTE helps identify previously unidentified bugs. The Project Zero team has utilized this feature and discovered specific bugs only when using gesture input. Although these bugs may not pose security vulnerabilities, they are genuine bugs.
TLDR: Mark Brand of Project Zero unveils the hidden MTE feature of the Pixel 8/Pixel 8 Pro, a unique capability to prevent memory-related vulnerabilities. Users must enable USB debugging to access this unofficial feature, and certain system configurations and programs may be excluded from utilizing it. The Project Zero team has already identified bugs using MTE, specifically when using gesture input.