Google's 'free' Spectre patch

Ashampoo Spectre Meltdown CPU Checker

Months passed before the problems were disclosed to the public.

"Siemens is aware that some updates can result in compatibility, performance or stability issues on certain products and operating systems. These are non-trivial changes to make and small differences in systems can make a world of difference". Such security flaws have been discovered in processors designed by Intel, AMD and ARM. "Retpoline fully protects against Variant 2 without impacting customer performance on all of our platforms".

We reviewed programs and services in the past couple of weeks that let you determine whether your devices are vulnerable to potential attacks.

Intel has arguably been worst affected of all the major chip designers, with CPUs going back to 1995 affected. The complaint cited reports that Intel had been warned of the problem.

The details of what Reptoline does is covered in a Google support article with a simplified explanation on Google's security blog. "If their internal teams start locating vulnerabilities before external teams like Google do, that will be proof the pledge is more than just hype".

After Intel, AMD has also released a set of patches for Windows and Linux. The second Spectre variant was vastly more tricky to patch. Operating system vendors, such as Microsoft, are still working to address these compatibility issues with their updates.

Despite claims from security researchers that, for example, the Spectre security patch for iOS has caused a 40 per cent degradation in performance of the Apple A8 CPU in the iPhone 6, Google has claimed that its patch should cause "no degradation" to performance.

AMD will release firmware updates for its processors to protect against the devastating Spectre CPU exploits that affect every modern computer, phone, and tablet.

Microsoft needed to temporarily suspend issuing security updates recently, especially for those with AMD chips, after it found that these patches were not compatible with antivirus software that kept affected computers from restarting after patch installation.

Like most organizations, chip manufacturers long have prioritized speed over security", said Ryan Kalember, senior vice president of cybersecurity strategy at Proofpoint, "and that has led to a tremendous amount of sensitive data being placed at risk of unauthorized access via Meltdown and Spectre.

Spectre, on the other hand, affects more devices, and its ability to exploit software applications previously thought to have been made with no vulnerabilities makes it harder to counter, hence the name, as it will "haunt" us for a while.

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