ibusinesslines.com September 22, 2018

AMD is deploying a patch for the second Spectre CPU vulnerability

13 January 2018, 06:05 | Justin Tyler

AMD is deploying a patch for the second Spectre CPU vulnerability

AMD is deploying a patch for the second Spectre CPU vulnerability

Along with the performance hits, the patches can trigger system errors including the Blue Screen of Death in PCs running incompatible antivirus software or a small number AMD chips.

"The threat and the response to the three variants differ by microprocessor company, and AMD is not susceptible to all three variants".

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich addressed an open letter to the IT sector promising to address the Spectre and Meltdown flaws.

The company says that in order to protect its products, it deployed anti-Spectre and Meltdown solutions which users didn't even notice. It's worth noting that there hasn't been a documented case of anyone exploiting these issues, but security experts point out, it would be hard to track if it had happened.

Vendors across the industry have been scrambling to issue proper fixes, but the rollout has been far from ideal. Retpoline fully protects against Variant 2 without impacting customer performance on all our platforms.

Of course, if your OS, browser or some other piece of the stack is causing slow-downs, it may not be attributable to Google or any cloud vendor, but it could slow you down just the same. You don't get much clearer than that.

"For several months, it appeared that disabling the vulnerable CPU features would be the only option for protecting all our workloads against Variant 2 ..." To fix it, the company created Retpoline, a software-only solution that regular users unfortunately can't benefit from. "Furthermore, testing this feature, particularly when combined with optimisations such as software branch prediction hints, demonstrated that this protection came with nearly no performance loss". But with the vulnerabilities now public, security researchers worry it'll only be a matter of time. That could mean noticeable performance hits when blocking the hacks. On Windows 7 with 6th gen chips the decline is comparable to newer chips on Windows 10.

With this announcement, however, that AMD stock run could be coming to an end.

The moonshot came from Google engineer Paul Turner, and it's known as "Retpoline".

However, the new statement released yesterday from AMD senior vice president and CTO Mark Papermaster admitted that both Spectre vulnerabilities affect its chips, including the branch target injection variant.

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