The chipmaker is working with rivals AMD, ARM and others in an industry response to the revelation of serious CPU security flaws disclosed recently. Meltdown and Spectre break the isolation between memory used by applications, and even applications and kernel-mode memory, posing a significant security risk if exploited.
Meltdown appears to only affect CPUs released by Intel, whereas Spectre also impacts processors from AMD and ARM-based chips in mobile & entertainment devices.
Intel has already issued updates for all types of Intel-based computer systems, including personal computers and servers, to address the flaws. It is focusing primarily on products released in the past five years, for the time being. By the end of next week, Intel expects to have issued updates for more than 90 percent of processor products introduced within the past five years.
Operating system vendors including Apple, Microsoft and Google are also pushing out fixes to mitigate the flaws, and software developers are working on patches to address the threat posed by Spectre.
Media reports have suggesting a significant performance impact from some of the updates. According to Intel, the performance impact of these updates is highly workload-dependent and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time.
In the case of some discrete workloads where the performance impact will initially be higher, Intel expects the impact to be reduced by additional post-deployment identification, testing and improvement of the software updates.
More Information: Meltdown & Spectre: Serious CPU bugs affect Desktops, Servers and Smartphones
Written by: James Delahunty @ 5 Jan 2018 2:59