Intel produces white paper, benchmark on Meltdown, Spectre

Intel produces white paper, benchmark on Meltdown, Spectre”

Here's a rundown of the bugs and how some big tech companies are approaching the problem.

While in its report Microsoft didn't offer any concrete numbers, Intel has shared its own data based on internal benchmarking tests; it covers several 6th, 7th, and 8th Generation Intel Core processors running Windows 10. For example, users running Windows 10 are not going to notice a significant difference in performance, whereas those running older Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating systems are going to notice some slowdowns. Administrators who keep a close eye on system performance may already be experiencing the unwanted effects of the vulnerabilities.

The world's largest chipmaker confirmed last week that the security issues reported by researchers in the company's widely used microprocessors could allow hackers to steal sensitive information from computers, phones and other electronic devices. The impact on the performance could be up to 6 percent when office productivity and media creation software would be rolled out.

Spectre breaks the isolation between different applications. Spectre and Meltdown security patches will also impact the performance of Macs, iPhones, iPads and other Apple devices.

GPZ Variant 2, is the second variant of Spectre. "We are working quickly with these customers to understand, diagnose, and address this reboot issue".

Mark Papermaster, AMD senior vice president and CTO, wrote in his Thursday blog post that the company had updated its take on the security risks caused by the processor design flaws and actions the company has taken. For the latest details, please see Microsoft's website.

The architecture flaws first came to light for vendors in mid-2017. What's more, the hit to "responsiveness", a more specific benchmark that Intel tested its chips for with the new updates, took a much bigger hit. Meltdown and Spectre are not malware (viruses) but they are vulnerabilities that have been discovered in the basic component of all computers: processor chips. We are also engaging closely with the Linux community on development of "return trampoline" (Retpoline) software mitigations.

GPZ Variant 3 (Meltdown) doesn't affect AMD processors.

Responding to questions about its GPUs, AMD says Radeon architectures do not use speculative execution and therefore are not susceptible to the threats.

The statement continued: "AMD will make optional microcode updates available to our customers and partners for Ryzen and EPYC processors starting this week".

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