Intel’s 8th-Gen Xeon and Core Processors Feature Redesigned Hardware to Address Spectre and Meltdown Vulnerabilities

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Intel CEO Brian Krzanich today announced that its next-generation Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) processors and its 8th-generation Intel Core processors will feature redesigned components to protect against the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities that affect all modern processors.

Spectre variant 1 of the vulnerabilities will continue to be addressed in software, while Intel is implementing hardware-based design changes to offer future protection against Spectre variant 2 and Meltdown variant 3.

We have redesigned parts of the processor to introduce new levels of protection through partitioning that will protect against both Variants 2 and 3. Think of this partitioning as additional “protective walls” between applications and user privilege levels to create an obstacle for bad actors.

Intel’s new Xeon Scalable processors and its 8th-generation Intel Core processors are expected to start shipping out to manufacturers in the second half of 2018.

Ahead of the hardware changes, Intel says that software-based microcode updates have now been issued for 100 percent of Intel products launched in the past five years, and all customers should make sure to continue to keep their systems up-to-date with software updates.


Krzanich also reaffirmed Intel’s commitment to customer-first urgency, transparent and timely communications, and ongoing security reassurance.

Apple began addressing the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities back in early January with the release of iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2, which introduced mitigations for Meltdown. Subsequent iOS 11.2.2 and macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 Supplemental updates introduced mitigations for Spectre, as did patches for both macOS Sierra and OS X El Capitan in older machines.

Apple’s software mitigations for the vulnerabilities have not resulted in any significant measurable decline in performance.

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Intel redesigned its 8th-gen processors to patch ‘Meltdown’ flaws

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As promised, Intel has redesigned its upcoming 8th-gen Xeon and Core processors to further reduce the risks of attacks via the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, CEO Brian Krzanich wrote. Those fixes are on top of the software updates already issu…
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Sony patches up Xperia XZ, Xperia XZs and X Performance for “Spectre” and “Meltdown”

Sony Mobile keeps going with pushing firmware updates to its devices. After the Xperia XZ Premium got patched for “Spectre” and “Meltdown”, next in line are the Xperia XZ, Xperia XZs and Xperia X Performance that are over two years old. Owners of these three devices should already be receiving the new 47.1.A.12.75 build over the air. The security update has a February 1, 2018, date and is mostly patching up the software for the CPU vulnerabilities. The firmware does not mention any other changes and is just 120 MB in size. The upgrade should be hitting both dual-SIM and single-SIM…

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Intel failed to disclose Meltdown and Spectre to government until flaws made public, Apple and others confirm

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Apple, Google parent Alphabet and Intel in letters to lawmakers on Thursday revealed a bit of background information concerning the recent airing of Meltdown and Spectre chip vulnerabilities, saying Intel notified U.S. cyber security officials of the flaws only after their existence was made public.
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Intel Didn’t Tell U.S. Government About Meltdown and Spectre Until Vulnerabilities Went Public

Intel failed to inform U.S. cyber security officials about the Meltdown and Spectre chip flaws ahead of when they leaked to the public even though Intel had advanced knowledge of the vulnerabilities, several tech companies said in letters sent out to lawmakers on Thursday.

According to Reuters, Apple and Google parent company Alphabet sent letters to Representative Greg Walden, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden had previously questioned the tech companies about when the chip flaws were disclosed to Intel.


Alphabet said its Google Project Zero team informed Intel, AMD, and ARM about the chip vulnerabilities in in June and provided the three companies with 90 days to fix the problems before disclosing them.

Intel did not tell the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, aka US-CERT about the Meltdown and Spectre flaws until January 3, however, well after media reports went live. According to Intel, it did not disclose the vulnerabilities ahead of time because hackers had not exploited them.

Intel said it did not inform government officials because there was “no indication that any of these vulnerabilities had been exploited by malicious actors,” according to its letter.

At the time the flaws were discovered, Intel also did not do an analysis on whether the flaws could impact critical infrastructure because it did not believe industrial control systems could be impacted, but it did inform the technology companies that use its products.

News of Meltdown and Spectre, two chip flaws that impact all modern processors, first began circulating in early January. Meltdown and Spectre take advantage of the speculative execution mechanism of a CPU, and because they are hardware-based flaws, operating system manufacturers have been forced to implement software workarounds.

Apple first addressed Meltdown and Spectre in iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2 and has since mitigated both vulnerabilities with little to no impact on device performance.

In addition to questioning by the U.S. government over its failure to share information on the security flaws, Intel is also facing at least 32 Meltdown and Spectre lawsuits
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Intel currently facing 32 class-action lawsuits for Spectre and Meltdown

Yesterday, Intel expanded its bug bounty program to catch more issues like the extensive Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws, but that was too little, too late for some chip owners. We knew three class-action lawsuits were filed in early January days afte…
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Researchers discover new ways to abuse Meltdown and Spectre flaws

Intel has already started looking for other Spectre-like flaws, but it won't be able to move on from the Spectre/Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities anytime soon. A team of security researchers from NVIDIA and Princeton University have discovered new ways t…
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The dinosaur-murdering asteroid maybe also triggered an underwater volcano meltdown

The cataclysmic asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs might have also triggered massive volcanic eruptions deep beneath the ocean, new research says. It’s yet another way the extraterrestrial impact could have killed off more than 70 percent of life on Earth — that is, if the timing isn’t just a coincidence.

Roughly 66 millions years ago, a 6-mile-wide asteroid crashed into Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula — causing a massive, worldwide earthquake. That Earth-shaking impact might have made underwater volcanoes spit up magma even more ferociously than usual, according to a study published today in the journal Science Advances. These events might have added to the asteroid’s apocalyptic aftershocks — including wildfires, global cooling, and…

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Sony Xperia XZ Premium gets patches for “Meltdown” and “Spectre”

Sony Xperia XZ Premium owners started receiving the latest firmware update for their phones. The build number moves from 47.1.A.12.34 to 47.1.A.12.75 and brings February security update that fixes “Meltdown” and “Spectre” CPU vulnerabilities. Sony Xperia XZ Premium security update The new firmware is version 47.1.A.12.75 and it doesn’t mention any other changes, so chances are you won’t notice much difference in terms of user experience. The 120MB size also suggests no major changes. The upgrade is now seeding to dual-SIM phones, but single-SIM versions should be getting it…

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