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Chipzilla Intel Flaw?

chipThere have been rumors in the wind that there could be an Intel chip flaw that affect Intel Processors built in the last 10 years.  Linux distributions have been frantically updating their code, but being very careful about why they are updating it.  The Register was able to find out that the bug allows programs to see some of the contents of the protected kernel memory. This area is protected because it could potentially hold information like logins, passwords, or other critical data.  In a worst-case scenario, your browsers JavaScript could read files in your memory, thus giving others access to your data. It is speculated that the bug is fairly significant since this is under such secrecy, Linux and Mac have released patches and we expect Microsoft to release patches shortly.

Some kernel updates can be easily fixed through code updates, but this update, unfortunately, is not easy.  It sounds like they are using software to update the chip, but it could cause anywhere from a 5-30% slowdown on some Windows machines.  It is speculated that a full chip redesign will be needed.  AMD chips are not vulnerable to this exploit.

Since Intel chips are in 90% of laptops and servers, this will cause a significant impact and will be sure to cause some headaches.  Most significantly will be Amazon Clouds EC2, Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine, which all rely heavily on Intel chips.  Most of the cloud providers have already sent notifications to their users regarding downtime to patch their systems.

Thrive highly recommends that all Linux distributions be patched as soon as possible.  Mac OS has been patched since 10.13.2.  We expect Microsoft to be patching its OS versions soon.  Thrive is working with our 3rd parties to develop a monitoring system to protect against this type of attack.  Please feel free to contact us if you would like to know more.

 

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