Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign

By: SRTDodge05
January 3rd, 2018
3:22 pm

Updated A fundamental design flaw in Intel's processor chips has forced a significant redesign of the Linux and Windows kernels to defang the chip-level security bug.

Programmers are scrambling to overhaul the open-source Linux kernel's virtual memory system. Meanwhile, Microsoft is expected to publicly introduce the necessary changes to its Windows operating system in an upcoming Patch Tuesday: these changes were seeded to beta testers running fast-ring Windows Insider builds in November and December.

Crucially, these updates to both Linux and Windows will incur a performance hit on Intel products. The effects are still being benchmarked, however we're looking at a ballpark figure of five to 30 per cent slow down, depending on the task and the processor model. More recent Intel chips have features such as PCID to reduce the performance hit. Your mileage may vary.

Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign • The Register

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45 comments on "Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign"

  • fvbounty
    January 3, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Should of got a Threadripper!

  • SRTDodge05
    January 3, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Intel's stock took a pounding this morning as reports of a fatal bug inside the company's processors swept the web. We cautioned that many of the performance claims felt a bit overblown, and in fact, testing with the patched Windows operating systems emerged over the last few hours. Those preliminary tests reveal that there is little to no performance regression in most desktop workloads, with synthetic I/O tests inflating the issue.

    Intel's silence on the "bug" was deafening over the last 24 hours as the story unfolded, but now the company has issued a statement that contends there is, in fact, no bug at all. The company claims the issue affects many other vendors and is not inherent to Intel architectures. Below is Intel's statement in full:

    Intel Disputes CPU Bug Claims

  • Sandog
    January 3, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    I think your jumping pretty early aren't you FVB? Besides, 25% slower is still faster than AMD lol.

  • Sandog
    January 3, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    Originally Posted by SRTDodge05
    Intel's stock took a pounding this morning as reports of a fatal bug inside the company's processors swept the web. We cautioned that many of the performance claims felt a bit overblown, and in fact, testing with the patched Windows operating systems emerged over the last few hours. Those preliminary tests reveal that there is little to no performance regression in most desktop workloads, with synthetic I/O tests inflating the issue.

    Intel's silence on the "bug" was deafening over the last 24 hours as the story unfolded, but now the company has issued a statement that contends there is, in fact, no bug at all. The company claims the issue affects many other vendors and is not inherent to Intel architectures. Below is Intel's statement in full:

    Intel Disputes CPU Bug Claims
    Reminds me of how Apple says they are more secure than Windows years ago. Well that's because Windows is 99% of world use and they are bigger targets.

  • fvbounty
    January 3, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Originally Posted by Sandog
    I think your jumping pretty early aren't you FVB? Besides, 25% slower is still faster than AMD lol.
    I couldn't be more happy with my rig Sandog, just like you!

  • Sandog
    January 3, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    It does not read like a hardware/architecture flaw. It reads like a vulnerability and those will always come to light. I am sure my CPU will continue to get high CPU scores and run solitaire lol.

  • fvbounty
    January 3, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    This sounds like a perfect time for a class action lawsuit!

  • SRTDodge05
    January 4, 2018 at 11:45 am

    This could mean that a significant portion of the Intel CPUs out there will be left vulnerable to attacks, as most people refresh their computers after five years.

    Desktop, Laptop, and Cloud computers may be affected by Meltdown. More technically, every Intel processor which implements out-of-order execution is potentially affected, which is effectively every processor since 1995 (except Intel Itanium and Intel Atom before 2013). We successfully tested Meltdown on Intel processor generations released as early as 2011. Currently, we have only verified Meltdown on Intel processors. At the moment, it is unclear whether ARM and AMD processors are also affected by Meltdown.

    The Google researchers also said that Spectre affects virtually all CPUs, including those from Intel, AMD, and ARM.

    Intel Issues Meltdown, Spectre Patches For Newer CPUs

  • zapionics<alt>
    January 4, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    I'm really concerned about the performance hit of the patch.
    I run a Q9650 (Yorkfield) and while I'm very happy with performance, its older architecture and the patch could degrade performance significantly

  • fvbounty
    January 4, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Yeah you pay for a 4ghz cpu and get a 2.8 ghz cpu....where do i file my claim....lol...



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