Thursday, February 22, 2018
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Design Flaw In Intel CPUs Found, Reduces Performance

A massive design flaw and security vulnerability has been found in Intel CPUs. This design flaw not only effects security, but performance as well. The affected processors require an update to the OS on both the Windows and Linux side. Once you apply this fix a performance drop of 5-30% can be observed.

One the security side of things it is pretty bad. An affected processor could have the contents of its kernel memory accessed, this is where your passwords, logins, etc are stored.

The story was first reported by The Register, who explains “At worst, the hole could be abused by programs and logged-in users to read the contents of the kernel’s memory. Suffice to say, this is not great. The kernel’s memory space is hidden from user processes and programs because it may contain all sorts of secrets, such as passwords, login keys, files cached from disk, and so on. Imagine a piece of JavaScript running in a browser, or malicious software running on a shared public cloud server, able to sniff sensitive kernel-protected data”.

This could be seen as a big win for AMD, who processors (so far) have not been affected by this problem. The problem is at the x86 level, so AMD might not be out of the woods yet, we will let you know if anything comes of it. But if AMD’s processors remain safe a 5-30% performance drop can really change benchmarks and how AMD processors look compared to Intel counterparts.

The guys over at Phoronix have done some benchmarks on Linux pre and post-fix, you can see those results below.

Bob Buskirk
the authorBob Buskirk
About 10 years of computer experience. Been messing around with electronics since I was 5, got into computers when I was in highschool, been modding them ever since then. Very interested in how things work and their design.
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