Intel Says Spectre & Meltdown Exploits Extend To Newer Chips As Well

Intel Says Spectre & Meltdown Exploits Extend To Newer Chips As Well

While there have been no reports of Spectre or Meltdown being exploited in the wild by hackers, opportunistic cyber criminals have been creating fake patches loaded with malware to exploit any paranoia over the security risks the CPU flaws could pose.

Last week, it was discovered that a recent firmware update was causing reboot issues with older Intel processors.

Shenoy acknowledged the issues: "We have now issued firmware updates for 90 percent of Intel CPUs introduced in the past five years, but we have more work to do".

A Democratic U.S. lawmaker asked Intel Corp and two other microchip makers on Tuesday to provide a briefing on the recently detected Spectre and Meltdown security flaws that could allow hackers to steal information from most computers and devices.

"In those areas where we are seeing higher impacts, we are working hard with our partners and customers to identify ways to address this", Shenoy said. He added, "In parallel, we will be providing beta microcode to vendors for validation by next week".

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Gibson Research has released a new tool called InSpectre to detect if your PC is vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre.

Apple, Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Juniper, Microsoft and Oracle are among the many vendors that must update users' firmware and operating systems with Meltdown and Spectre protections. Fixes had already been issued but they reportedly slowed some machines down.

Intel on Wednesday also quantified how much of a performance hit the patches cause for data centre customers. To further complicate matters, newer processors contain features to minimize the performance impact of these important security improvements. For common tasks such as running website servers, the patches caused a 2 per cent slowdown, Intel said.

He revealed the initial data the company got from benchmarking server platforms using two-socket Intel Xeon Scalable - its latest microarchitecture - systems. "Generally speaking, the workloads that incorporate a larger number of user/kernel privilege changes and spend a significant amount of time in privileged mode will be more adversely impacted". When testing stressed the CPU (100% write case), there was an 18% decrease in throughput performance because there was not CPU utilisation headroom. "For example, there are other mitigations options that could yield less impact".