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Google says its security patches not slowing down systems

12 Enero 2018

"For context, on newer CPUs such as on Skylake and beyond, Intel has refined the instructions used to disable branch speculation to be more specific to indirect branches, reducing the overall performance penalty of the Spectre mitigation".

Meltdown and Spectre affect just about every single processor made over the past 20 years, causing emergency fixes and mitigations to be released for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.

Terry Myerson, executive vice president for the Microsoft Windows and Devices Group, wrote a blog admitting that for Windows 10 on older silicon, defined as 2015-era PCs with Haswell or older CPU, benchmarks show "more significant slowdowns", and the vendor giant expects that "some users will notice a decrease in system performance".

Spiceworks experts explained that businesses are fully aware of the risks but they either have no alternatives or no money for a software upgrade on their machines.

But Computerworld columnist Wally Leonhard questioned the rush to release patches, noting that "there are no known exploits for Meltdown or Spectre in the wild" and the vulnerabilities are "nowhere near being active ground-level threats for the vast majority of Windows customers". While not as bad as Intel's case, AMD is also trying to make sure that its own systems are secure. To get your affected PC back to a bootable state, you will have to visit Microsoft's support site for fixes. However Intel has smartly responded to the solution by claimimg that average computer users should not be affected. For example, a fix for Spectre led to issues turning on some computers with AMD chips, and a Meltdown patch for Microsoft Windows required changes from antivirus makers. That we have yet to see.

Last year, Google in cooperation with university researchers identified a large security vulnerability with designs commonly employed to improve microprocessor performance.

Recent reports suggest that computers - personal, business, and cellular alike - are susceptible to two newly discovered major security flaws. Because we are talking about kernel memory, the likelihood of impacting applications is very small other than performance on application processor intensive tasks.