Intel's Meltdown And Spectre Firmware Fix Is Causing Unexpected System Rebooting

Intel's Meltdown And Spectre Firmware Fix Is Causing Unexpected System Rebooting

Intel's Meltdown And Spectre Firmware Fix Is Causing Unexpected System Rebooting

It's been a long week since we first learned about the now infamous Spectre and Meltdown chip vulnerabilities. The company previously said that its chips are only susceptible to the first Spectre variant, but in its latest announcement, it admitted that both Spectre variations are "applicable to AMD processors".

This kind of slowdown is assumed to be an unavoidable downside to patching Spectre and Meltdown, but today we're learning that it may not have to be that way.

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Meltdown and Spectre have been discovered in computer chips in billions of computers, smartphone and tablets across the world. These vulnerabilities have the potential to leave this information exposed if exploited correctly.

Vendors across the industry have been scrambling to issue proper fixes, but the rollout has been far from flawless. 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%. You don't get much clearer than that. Google turned to Retpoline, which is described as "a novel software binary modification technique that prevents branch-target-injection". "Furthermore, testing this feature, particularly when combined with optimizations such as software branch prediction hints, demonstrated that this protection came with nearly no performance loss".

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Given the difficulty of solving it, Google's Project Zero security team made a rare exception to its 90-day disclosure policy, which gives vendors and companies 90 days to solve the problem before it releases details of a vulnerability to the public. That could mean noticeable performance hits when blocking the hacks. The tests were run on Windows 7 and Windows 10, and the performance issues depended on which chip and which type of job you were running. The remaining Chromebook which haven't been patched but also haven't reached their end of life status are simply waiting on pending back ports so the patches are coming they just haven't been completed and pushed out to users yet. That's when Google engineers looked into "moonshot" solutions.

As companies are trying to recover from what were, and still are, perhaps the most severe CPU bugs in the history of the computer, people are wondering how exactly does this affect them.

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