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How to protect against the Meltdown and Spectre CPU security flaws (Technology)

by Rich Rover, Saturday, January 06, 2018, 11:15 (18 days ago) @ Joe The Android Guy

This is a good simple explanation I see from a user AT2512 on Reddit


The general gist of it is: two major security flaws were found with the design of most processors made in the last 10-20 years. In short they allow for malicious programs (or code in webpages?) to get potentially sensitive information out if the CPU they should definitely not be able too.

The two issues are known as Meltdown and Spectre, they achieve broadly the same thing through different methods.

Meltdown is exclusive to Intel processors, and can be fixed with an OS patch which will likely hit performance (significantly in some tasks, negligibly in others).

Spectre effects almost all CPUs released in the last 20 years, by everyone. It is harder to exploit than Meltdown, but is more widespread and harder to patch. There are two types of Spectre (so far), the first one effects everything, but is hard to exploit, in a meaningful way. The second version is a more useful exploit; in theory it can effect everything the first did, in reality AMD seem confident that their CPU architecture makes thier CPUs much less susceptible (in thier words a near 0 chance), and claim that so far in testing no one has been able to compromise an AMD CPU with that version of Spectre.


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