‘Solution for critical vulnerability in Intel chips could make PC up to 30% slower’

Posted 03 January 2018 23:30 CET by Jan Willem Aldershoff

A patch for a critical vulnerability in Intel processors possibly slows downs the operating system of the concerning macOS, Windows and Linux computers. The vulnerability is in both consumer and server chips from Intel that have been manufactured in the last 10 years.

Details about the vulnerability in the CPUs have not been disclosed. Intel confirmed in November last year that several critical vulnerabilities were found inits Intel Management Engine application.

Patched required to fix the issues could slow down operating systems. Tests on Windows and Linux indicate that systems could become 5%-30% slower, depending on the task and the tested CPU, according to TheRegister. There are currently no numbers known for Apple systems.

Because the issue is caused by a design flaw in Intel’s x86-64 hardware, it’s an issue that can’t be easily solved. Either a solution has to be developed for the operating system, or a new chip without the design flaw has to be purchased.

It’s unknown what exactly the consequences are of the flaw. It could be that applications can gain access to the protected kernel memory of computers where e.g. passwords are stored. Intel has submitted patches to the Linux kernel, but the comments have been redacted to obfuscate what exactly the issue is.


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