Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 3rd Jan 2018 00:42 UTC

A fundamental design flaw in Intel's processor chips has forced a significant redesign of the Linux and Windows kernels to defang the chip-level security bug.

Programmers are scrambling to overhaul the open-source Linux kernel's virtual memory system. Meanwhile, Microsoft is expected to publicly introduce the necessary changes to its Windows operating system in an upcoming Patch Tuesday: these changes were seeded to beta testers running fast-ring Windows Insider builds in November and December.

Crucially, these updates to both Linux and Windows will incur a performance hit on Intel products. The effects are still being benchmarked, however we're looking at a ballpark figure of five to 30 per cent slow down, depending on the task and the processor model. More recent Intel chips have features - such as PCID - to reduce the performance hit.

That's one hell of a bug.

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RE: Performance hit for security?
by l3v1 on Wed 3rd Jan 2018 20:38 UTC in reply to "Performance hit for security?"
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so it'll be business as usual within 3 months once the furore has died down

Well, there's more to consider. In scientific circles it's quite common to also include runtime results for algorithms, specifying the used cpu along with some relevant details - however, listing the kernel is not something generally done. It seems there'll be the need to also do that from now on. Would be quite some "fun" (not) to keep around unpatched kernels just to do comparable tests to compare with published numbers of earlier works.

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