Items tagged with meltdown

The Razer Phone launched back in November and it packed some of the best hardware to be crammed inside a smartphone in recent memory. Razer has now launched a software update for the smartphone that brings some nice new features for owners. The new features might also push some who have been thinking about buying the device off the fence. The update is a big one clocking in at 249MB and brings with its HDR support in Netflix. This feature makes the Razer Phone one of the few smartphones in the world to support Netflix HDR.  The update also brings with it updates for the cameras on the phone to improve performance and image quality. An issue where the phone would capture images with a yellow... Read more...
Intel is in hot water after a report from The Wall Street Journal surfaced yesterday that claims that Intel announced to a handful of customers, including several Chinese companies, that its chips were susceptible to Meltdown and Spectre security flaws. Those two flaws affected chip technologies from Intel, AMD, and ARM. Security experts have taken issue with what Intel did because the early warning to the Chinese firms could have allowed the companies to alert Beijing officials on the flaws, giving China operatives extra lead time to exploit the vulnerabilities in the chips. Jake Williams, head of Rendition Infosec and a former NSA employee said that it was a "near certainty"... Read more...
If you regularly follow tech -- which we're quite sure you do -- then you likely know all about the alarming Spectre and Meltdown chip vulnerabilities that were first revealed just a few weeks ago. The good news is that software and hardware partners from around the globe have worked to issue OS patches and BIOS/microcode updates to help mitigate the exploits. Now, Intel says that it will include actual hardware fixes in silicon to address Meltdown and Spectre, in future processor releases. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich made the comments during the company's Q4 2017 earnings call yesterday, explaining that "silicon-based" fixes for Spectre and Meltdown would arrive by the end of 2018. This... Read more...
It appears that the fallout from Intel's release of BIOS updates to address Spectre and Meltdown chip vulnerabilities continues to rain down on the PC community. Most recently, Dell has advised its customers against installing BIOS/microcode updates that have been distributed to address Spectre (Variant 2). If you recall, there are three exploits making the rounds involving Spectre and Meltdown: Variant 1 (Spectre): CVE-2017-5753 (Bound Check Bypass) Variant 2 (Spectre): CVE-2017-5715 (Branch Target Injection) Variant 3 (Meltdown): CVE-2017-5754 (Rogue Data Cache Load) Dell assures customers that only the BIOS/microcode mitigation for Variant 2 is susceptible to "reboot issues and unpredictable... Read more...
Intel has been taking heat for patches that it deployed for the Spectre and Meltdown chip flaws. Recently deployed patches have resulted in some systems being subjected to random rebooting. However, Linus Torvalds is blasting Intel for another consequence of its patching regimen. In Torvalds' words, the patches are complete garbage. "They do literally insane things. They do things that do not make sense," said Torvalds. "I think we need something better than this garbage." He made these comments via a public Linux kernel mailing list that included Amazon engineer David Woodhouse. Torvalds is of course talking about the patches and how they are implemented for the Linux kernel to address Spectre... Read more...
Intel has a pretty big Spectre/Meltdown problem on its hands. The company over the past few weeks has issued patches to help mitigate the processor vulnerabilities, but those patches have resulted in frequent reboots of both older (Broadwell, Haswell) and newer (Skylake, Kaby Lake) processors, and everything in between. Intel is now telling customers to forgo installing the Spectre and Meltdown patches due to lingering issues that it has confirmed with customers, and identified in its own testing. In addition, Intel says that it has identified the root cause for the reboots. "We recommend that OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors and end users stop deployment... Read more...
AMD is facing a class action lawsuit related to recently disclosed chip vulnerabilities that have companies scrambling to release security patches. Those patches can potentially hamper performance, though the ire of the lawsuit against AMD is that it initially kept quiet about its chips being susceptible to both variants of Spectre, thereby "artificially inflating" the company's stock price in the wake of Meltdown and Spectre. "Throughout the Class Period, Defendants made materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s business, operational and compliance policies. Specifically, Defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (i) a fundamental... Read more...
Intel last week acknowledged that firmware updates intended to mitigate the security threats posed by Meltdown and Spectre were causing reboot issues in both client and data center computers powered by Broadwell and Haswell processors. Now it turns out that PCs running newer generation CPUs are experiencing "more frequent reboots" after applying firmware upgrades as well. In a blog post, Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of the Data Center Group at Intel, said that firmware updates are now available for more than 90 percent of Intel CPUs introduced in the past five years. He also confirmed that those updates are also causing reboot issues in Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge,... Read more...
There are a number of ways to tell if your computer is vulnerable to the Spectre or Meltdown security exploits that have been making rounds over the last several weeks. For instance, Microsoft has a tool that will analyze your rig and tell you, but it is a PowerShell script that gives you results that you almost need a computer science degree to understand. A new tool is now available that makes it very easy to test your machine and understand the results, and it is called InSpectre. InSpectre is from Steve Gibson, security researcher, and his tool (download here) delivers easy to understand results. It will tell you with simple yes or no answers if you are vulnerable. The image... Read more...
Forget about planning just for Patch Tuesday, the second Tuesday of every month when Microsoft issues security updates to Windows users. As companies scramble to mitigate Meltdown and Spectre, you should be planning for Patch January, and maybe February as well. Case in point, ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI have all now released firmware updates for a whole bunch of motherboard models. "ASUS is aware that the current Intel microcode version might be subject to recently identified security vulnerabilities. We are diligently working to update ASUS motherboards that support 6th, 7th or 8th Generation Intel Core processors or Intel Core X-series processors for X99 and X299 platforms. We recommend customers... Read more...
With most of the attention focused on Intel with regards to Meltdown and Spectre -- Intel is the only chip OEM that is affected by both vulnerabilities -- the company has done its best to try to be as transparent as possible about how it issues firmware updates and patches for affected systems. Roughly a week ago, Intel started rolling out the first firmware updates aimed at mitigating any security issues surrounding both Meltdown and Spectre. However, almost immediately, customers began experiencing issues with their systems rebooting unexpectedly. The issue was first brought to the public sphere through an article that was published in the Wall Street Journal yesterday afternoon. After the... Read more...
When the news of Meltdown and Spectre processor vulnerabilities first started making the round, Intel by far received the brunt of the hits with regards to negative reaction from customers and the press. Intel processors are susceptible to both Meltdown and Spectre, so that accounts for some of the reaction. However, AMD processors are vulnerable to Spectre, yet it has largely skated through unscathed. AMD's Chief Technology Officer, Mark Papermaster, looked to clarify the impact of Meltdown and Spectre on its expansive family of processors. With regards to Variant 1 (Spectre, Bounds Check Bypass), Papermaster says that AMD processors are in fact vulnerable. In this instance, the mitigation is... Read more...
Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. Just ask the affected users of older AMD systems who had their PCs bricked after downloading and installing a Windows update that was supposed to protect them from Meltdown and Spectre. It is not just Windows users who are suffering, either. Some Ubuntu Xenial 16.04 users also report that the latest update for their OS has rendered their system unable to boot. "I just ran an update on my Ubuntu Mate 16.04 system, which updated the kernel to 4.4.0-108. (I don't know if this version has changes to mitigate the recently-discovered Intel security flaws.) What happened afterwards is at boot time is the system locked up hard just as the graphical bootup... Read more...
There has been a lot of talk in recent days about what kind of performance impact that security patches for Meltdown and Spectre would have on overall system performance, with some reports suggesting that some systems could face up to a 30 percent hit. When Intel made its first comments on the matter a week ago, it noted, "for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time." Yesterday, Intel followed up with the following statement: Based on our most recent PC benchmarking, we continue to expect that the performance impact should not be significant for average computer users. This means the typical home and business PC user should not see significant slowdowns... Read more...
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