Companies are in disagreement over the precise impact of the workarounds required to protect systems from the Meltdown and Spectre speculative execution flaws revealed earlier this month, with some pointing to a doubling of CPU time in their workloads while others claim to have seen 'negligible impact'.
Fears that the fixes would limit the performance of processors have largely been resolves. The flaw wasn't reported until June last year, despite Intel knowing about it since before then. While patches are on the way, the performance hit from these patches could be as high as twenty or thirty percent in some cases.
It's possible that Windows' update feature already automatically downloaded and installed the patch, but you may need to restart your computer to finalize the patch.
Shares in Intel, the world's biggest maker of the computer processing units that are affected, fell by as much as 5pc last week after the bugs emerged. Meltdown, a vulnerability that affects devices using Intel CPUs, was reported by Jann Horn of Google's Project Zero, Werner Haas and Thomas Prescher of Cyberus Technology and Daniel Gruss and his colleagues at Graz University of Technology. Spectre affects chips made by Intel, ARM, AMD, and Qualcomm. Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group told The Guardian.
According to Meyer, the intelligence updates being issued will allow ThreatModeler Software customers to determine where their organization is sensitive to Meltdown and Spectre, and gives visibility into these threats to quantify the downstream impact across their entire IT environment.
Spectre, designated as CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715, can allow attackers to steal information leaked in the kernel/cached files or data stored in the memory of running programs, such as credentials (passwords, login keys, etc.).
"It is important to note that it is dependent on malware running locally which means it's imperative for users to practice good security hygiene by keeping their software up-to-date and avoid suspicious links or downloads", the company states. These updates from your favorite manufacturers should come in thick and fast in the next few days and weeks. Spectre is more difficult to exploit but also to mitigate.
"I can't say that we designed the system that way because we expected something as crazy as this to happen, but I can say that we did design it this way specially because syscalls were already too slow". These vulnerabilities were found in the process which most modern processors use to optimize the performance of their devices. ARM has also said it was working with AMD and Intel on security fixes. "First, the vulnerabilities expose affected devices to kernel attacks, which is very serious and could undermine any security you already have in place". I am certain we will work with customers to help them even as their questions and needs extend outside the limitations of the Scale HC3 stack itself. Intel's official statement is that the extent of performance degradation will depend on the workload and that the average user will not be significantly impacted.