Intel announces hardware-based protection against Spectre and Meltdown

Upcoming Intel processors will be designed to have hardware-based protection against the Spectre and Meltdown attacks, according to Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich in an announcement on the company’s website. The first CPUs to benefit from this protection will be Xeon Cascade Lake processors and Intel 8th generation Core processors.

Intel announces hardware-based protection against Spectre and Meltdown

There are currently 3 attacks on Intel’s processors. There is the Spectre attack in two variants (variant 1 & 2), and the Meltdown attack (variant 3). Intel has different solutions for variant 1 and for variant 2 and 3, according to Krzanich, “while Variant 1 will continue to be addressed via software mitigations, we are making changes to our hardware design to further address the other two.”

“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,” Krzanich explains.

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Besides the hardware-based protection in upcoming processors, Krzanich also states that Intel has now released microcode-updates for all CPUs the company released in the last 5 year. He advises users to install those updates as well as keeping the OS up-to-date.

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