Spectre and Meltdown: What We Now Know

  • Spectre and Meltdown: What We Now Know

Spectre and Meltdown: What We Now Know

Meltdown and Spectre are two recently-revealed system-level bugs that affect the processors in virtually every PC and smartphone now in circulation. Despite the company's promise of greater transparency going forward, the executive vice president and general manager of Intel's Data Center Group, Navin Shenoy, only confirmed these issues after an article by the Wall Street Journal had elucidated the problems.

However, unlike the other hardware-level CPU flaw Meltdown, which only affects Intel processors, Spectre is more hard to exploit and there are no reports of it being used outside of lab and proof-of-concept cyber attacks.

Yesterday, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich released a statement reiterating his company's attempts to fix the flaw.

But Nvidia still has to plug the security hole even if it could affect the performance of its GPUs, as is the case with other fixes for Spectre and Meltdown, though Nvidia hasn't detailed any ramifications the patches may carry. Specifically, these systems are running Intel Broadwell and Haswell CPUs for both client and data center.

That's probably because, as a recent The Verge story reports, Intel was well aware of the CPU exploits and was working to figure out how to patch up the security risks before harmful actors took action and took advantage of the vulnerabilities.

"We are working closely with them to correct an issue that paused the distribution of patches for some older AMD processors (AMD Opteron, Athlon and AMD Turion X2 Ultra families) earlier this week", Papermaster wrote". "If this requires a revised firmware update from Intel, we will distribute that update through the normal channels", Intel advised.

The world's largest chipmaker last week that the security issues reported by researchers in the company's widely used microprocessors could allow hackers to steal sensitive information from computers, phones and other electronic devices.