Research

Patch for Spectre, Meltdown causing problems in older chips

Patch for Spectre, Meltdown causing problems in older chips

"If this requires a revised firmware update from Intel, we will distribute that update through the normal channels", Intel advised.

AMD still maintains that its processors are not vulnerable to the GPZ Variant 3 exploit (Meltdown, Rogue Data Cache Load) and that no updates are needed to protect systems from it.

The Intel exec said users shouldn't feel discouraged by these snags and continue to install updates from OS makers and OEMs.

"We have received reports from a few customers of higher system reboots after applying firmware updates", Intel said on Thursday.

The patch for the vulnerable processors requires intervention on a feature that is directly meant to boost chip performance. Devices using the 7th Gen Kaby Lake-H mobile processors will be around 7% slower, while the performance impact on systems with the 6th Gen Skylake-S platform is estimated to be around 8%.

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"For months, hundreds of engineers across Google and other companies worked continuously to understand these new vulnerabilities and find mitigations for them", he wrote. If you have systems that have processors designed in the past five years, then Intel is going to issue a fix if it hasn't already. However, nearly immediately, customers began experiencing issues with their systems rebooting unexpectedly.

VMware has pledged to issue fixes at the hypervisor level, and cloud providers such as Google and Amazon say they've patched their VMs, but it's wise to patch the kernels, as well, Pereira said. The idea that cloud giants are experiencing less pain from Spectre and Meltdown could also give weight to the argument that public cloud security could, in fact, be stronger than most in-house efforts.

What the update from NVIDIA does is that it makes its GPUs work more securely with CPUs that are affected by Meltdown and Spectre.

Security best practices dictate containers run with least-privilege access to the underlying operating system and host.

While researchers who identified Spectre and Meltdown had warned that software patches could cause device performance hits of up to 30 percent, companies rolling out fixes are finding the impacts can vary widely.


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