AMD targeted in lawsuit over 'misleading' Spectre CPU bug claims

Mobile devices are even more vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre than computers

The first, called Meltdown, affects Intel chips and lets hackers bypass the hardware barrier between applications run by users and the computer's memory, potentially letting hackers read a computer's memory and steal passwords.

"The January 2018 Critical Patch Update provides fixes for certain Oracle products for the Spectre (CVE-2017-5753, CVE-2017-5715) and Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754) Intel processor vulnerabilities", the vendor said.

Last week, Intel shared initial benchmarks for its Spectre and Meltdown patch for recent consumer-focused Core i7 CPUs.

The impact appears to be minimal in most cases, with Intel seeing a 0-2 percent performance on industry standard measures of integer and floating point throughput, Linkpack, Stream, server-side Java, and energy efficiency benchmarks.




In his blog, Navin Shenoy, executive vice-president and GM of the Data Centre Group at Intel, says the company has now issued firmware updates for 90% of Intel CPUs introduced in the past five years.

The rebooting problem was initially believed to be limited to Intel's older chips but the company has now confirmed that it has been able to reproduce similar behavior on Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Skylake, and Kaby Lake-based machines as well.

Intel says workloads with more user/kernel privilege changes and which spend a lot of time in privileged mode are more adversely impacted. To date, we have tested server platforms running two-socket Intel Xeon® Scalable® systems (code-named Skylake), our latest server microarchitecture. As a typical example, Intel tested a system simulating a brokerage firm's customer-broker-stock exchange interaction and found it slowed the system by four percent. After it was forced to acknowledge the flaws ahead of schedule, Intel insisted in a January 4th press release that "Industry Testing Shows Recently Released Security Updates Not Impacting Performance in Real-World Deployments". For workloads that need to write data to a storage component, the performance hit from the patches can be as high as 18 percent depending on CPU utilization.

The post highlights other mitigation options that have less of a performance impact, including Google's "Retpoline" security solution, which is said to have nearly no effect on a system's speed.

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