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Intel's Spectre patches can cause reboot problems in old chips

13 Enero 2018

For example, a fix for Spectre led to issues turning on some computers with AMD chips, and a Meltdown patch for Microsoft Windows required changes from antivirus makers.

Alternatives include Advanced Micro Devices, which shares with Intel a chip architecture called x86, or chips based on technology from ARM Holdings or graphics processing chips, which were developed for different tasks than Intel and AMD's central processing units, or CPUs. One of the issues with mitigating the danger these vulnerabilities pose is that they could result in serious performance degradation. The new security patches have not slowed its performance, but it will use the security issues as an opportunity to re-evaluate its use of Intel products, said Chief Technology Officer John Graham Cumming. In the autonomous vehicle space, Intel and Mobileye will begin gathering a mapping data as early as this year, with the help of the latter's Road Experiment Management (REM) system. For example, all fonts in Windows 7 and 8 are rendered on the kernel, the software that controls the processor.

Microsoft gave a more pessimistic appraisal than Intel's initial assessments, particularly for servers that form the backbone of corporate networks. However, it is worsened by the fact that the security patches required to fix them might slow down CPU speeds, especially in computers with older chips. However, researchers at Google's Project Zero have only been able to show that "Meltdown" affects Intel microprocessors.

Intel says machines using older processors like Broadwell and Haswell will be most affected. I am very proud of how our industry has pulled together and want to thank everyone for their extraordinary collaboration.

This is of much greater consequence in these days of cloud computing where hardware is shared by numerous individuals and businesses. The difference is the Spectre and Meltdown flaws are the chip makers' faults, and not the software companies'.

Three firmware issues have been flagged by the company in updates released over the past week, according to a confidential document reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

At the start of his Monday evening keynote, Krzanich also acknowledged and thanked industry researchers who recently reported the major security vulnerabilities known as Meltdown and Spectre.

CEO Brian Krzanich has promised more transparency from Intel in a seperate post, saying it would publicly disclose significant vulnerabilities and add funding for "academic and independent research into potential security threats", as well as consistent progress reports for all issued and forthcoming patches.

Some Open-Source developers also explained that they had not received any information prior the public disclosure, but were actively working on providing patches. Meltdown is limited to processors produced by Intel, though it affects nearly every chip the company has sold since the mid-1990s.

GPZ Variant 2 (Branch Target Injection or Spectre) is applicable to AMD processors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A and C shares) and Apple.