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Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/3/2018 8:22:17 AM   
zakblood


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Huge Intel CPU Bug Allegedly Causes Kernel Memory Vulnerability With Up To 30% Performance Hit In Windows And Linux
If the reports are accurate, it appears that Intel might have a pretty severe chip-level security bug on its hands that cannot be simply swatted away with a microcode update. The bug affects all modern Intel processors dating back at least a decade.
We should note that squashing the bug requires a patch at the OS level; and Linux patches have already been distributed.

Microsoft is expected to address the bug in its monthly Patch Tuesday update. The circumstances surrounding the exploit are currently under embargo, but some details are starting to make their way to the public spotlight.

There's one big problem, however. Fixing this vulnerability in software also comes with a big hit on performance. Additional overhead is introduced to maintain a barrier between memory address spaces, which can result in a performance handicap of 30 percent or more. However, recent Intel processors with PCID (Process-Context Identifiers) enabled could have the performance impact lessened somewhat.

The hardware bug is apparently severe enough to make it ripe for exploitation, with some of the biggest targets being companies that use virtualized environments.

"Urgent development of a software mitigation is being done in the open and recently landed in the Linux kernel, and a similar mitigation began appearing in NT kernels in November," wrote the Python Sweetness blog on Monday. "In the worst case the software fix causes huge slowdowns in typical workloads.

"There are hints the attack impacts common virtualization environments including Amazon EC2 and Google Compute Engine."

In addition, apparently both Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services have scheduled maintenance that will take place over the next week, although there is no detailed explanation for the downtime. However, rampant speculation suggests that the maintenance could be to put the software fixes in place for this specific Intel CPU hardware bug. Literally, in some cases, it appears operating systems will need to be overhauled to deal with the issue.

You may have noticed that we haven't mentioned AMD once in this article up to this point. Well, AMD processors aren't affected by the bug due to security protections that the company has in place. This also means that AMD processors shouldn't be affected by any performance hits.

Further, AMD"s latest EPYC data center server chips and Ryzen Pro enterprise desktop CPUs have Secure Memory Encryption technology on board, for additional protection against just these sorts of threat vectors.

Regardless, given that the patches are currently under embargo and that Intel is understandably staying tight-lipped, it may still be a few days before we are made privy to all pertinent details surrounding the bug and how damaging it will be to existing computing platforms. However, all of this is looking very real at this point. The Linux update detailing its patch has been posted here by Linus Torvalds himself.

Update, 10:02 PM - 1/2/18 - Initial performance results on Linux platforms are beginning to surface now on the web. Early numbers are showing IO-intensive workloads are especially sensitive to the Kernel Page Table Isolation patch.

Linux performance enthusiast site Phoronix has posted some early benchmark numbers, post-patch. Some results are coming in with a 17 - 18 percent degradation overall.

Update, 10:56 PM - 1/2/18 - As it turns out, apparently the Linux patch that is being rolled out is for ALL x86 processors including AMD, and the Linux mainline kernel will treat AMD processors as insecure as well. As a result, AMD CPUs will feel a performance hit as well, though the bug only technically affects Intel CPUs and AMD recommends specifically not to enable the patch for Linux. How Microsoft specifically will address the issue with the Windows operating system remains unclear until the company's formal Patch Tuesday update is made known, hopefully soon.
Post #: 1
RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/3/2018 8:25:58 AM   
zakblood


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so why post?

does anyone care?

and does it effect you?

post is for information only, and may help some after Tuesdays patch fully understand why there pc may being going slower now than before the patch, so if your pc is borderline, eg only now just runs a game, after Tuesdays patch, it may not meet the minimum for a given game, after a 30% CPU loss etc.

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RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/3/2018 9:07:44 AM   
VPaulus

 

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Does this affect all existing Intel CPU processors?
Are other Windows besides 10 being affected?
Will the patch be optional for Windows users?

< Message edited by VPaulus -- 1/3/2018 9:08:03 AM >

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RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/3/2018 11:26:36 AM   
rommel222

 

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Greetings zakblood,
Thanks for posting this and alerting to performance hits.

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RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/3/2018 11:51:10 AM   
rico21

 

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I do not think it's intel's fault. We have not been in control of our computers for a long time. Manufacturers are putting spyware into hardware, spy secret services around the world is using big computer boxes to penetrate our data, and I do not even talk about civilian hackers. All this is an important part of the processors activity and makes our machines row.
Intel is the tree that hides the forest!

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RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/3/2018 1:05:38 PM   
hadberz


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Good to know. I'm thinking of upgrading my computer this year. Guess I will wait for a cpu refresh. :)

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Post #: 6
RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/3/2018 1:28:22 PM   
zakblood


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quote:

ORIGINAL: VPaulus

Does this affect all existing Intel CPU processors?
Are other Windows besides 10 being affected?
Will the patch be optional for Windows users?


all Intel cpu's and all versions of windows, included servers versions atm as well, but no idea if they will sort out something at a later date, as i would guess they will have to, as 30% is a massive loss for most, win 10 users, no options as it's a auto recommended download, others it's a choice, but as it's a loop hole fix, most would be mad not to have it either, as it's pre O/S entry access to your pc and o/s, so scammers and bots could undermine any ones protection without it

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RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/3/2018 2:48:17 PM   
Lecivius


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Wow, there really is not a lot of detailed information out there. I have so many questions, and none were answered in the first 10 articles I read...

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RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/3/2018 4:26:36 PM   
ncc1701e


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If I knew, I would have bought a new PC for Christmas

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RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/3/2018 4:44:03 PM   
rommel222

 

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Greetings to All,
Here are some online reference articles for reference:
https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/3/16844630/intel-processor-security-flaw-bug-kernel-windows-linux
https://www.extremetech.com/computing/261364-massive-intel-cpu-bug-leaves-kernel-vulnerable-reduce-performance
https://www.pcworld.com/article/3245606/security/intel-x86-cpu-kernel-bug-faq-how-it-affects-pc-mac.html
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/01/02/intel_cpu_design_flaw/

I have concerns for the online physics and astronomy courses I teach. The students buy the cheapest computer they can get to run the required simulation software and sometimes have trouble due to bare minimum cpu and graphics memory requirements. If there are going to be slow downs I worry about students being able to run the software due to performance hits.

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Post #: 10
RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/3/2018 5:09:22 PM   
Aurelian

 

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Hmmm, and I'm telling myself "Should of stuck with AMD"....

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RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/3/2018 5:16:09 PM   
Zorch

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Aurelian

Hmmm, and I'm telling myself "Should of stuck with AMD"....

But how do you know AMD doesn't have a similar backdoor?

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RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/3/2018 5:21:13 PM   
Aurelian

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch


quote:

ORIGINAL: Aurelian

Hmmm, and I'm telling myself "Should of stuck with AMD"....

But how do you know AMD doesn't have a similar backdoor?


I don't, but I've never heard of any problems. I still have my AMD proc and motherboard and memory :)


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RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/3/2018 6:08:03 PM   
ncc1701e


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No, AMD is not affected by this bug.

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Post #: 14
RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/3/2018 6:09:11 PM   
Zorch

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ncc1701e

No, AMD is not affected by this bug.

Key word being 'this'.

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Post #: 15
RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/3/2018 7:55:37 PM   
Lobster


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch


quote:

ORIGINAL: ncc1701e

No, AMD is not affected by this bug.

Key word being 'this'.





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RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/4/2018 6:51:09 AM   
Orm


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Thank you for the information.

It would be appreciated with updates as more information become available.

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Post #: 17
RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/4/2018 7:17:24 AM   
Crossroads


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Seems there's two serious bugs in play, "Meltdown" and "Spectre". former (so far) deemed specific to Intel CPUs, but the latter for AMD CPUs too

“Meltdown” and “Spectre”: Every modern processor has unfixable security flaws





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RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/4/2018 7:18:53 AM   
Crossroads


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I patched my Macbook the other day without being aware of this. It seems to run hotter now, with the fan kicking in quite soon to high gear, something it's not done before

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RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/4/2018 7:38:45 AM   
stuart3

 

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Below is the latest Google Security Blog. It includes the sentence "These vulnerabilities affect many CPUs, including those from AMD, ARM, and Intel, as well as the devices and operating systems running on them."

https://security.googleblog.com/2018/01/todays-cpu-vulnerability-what-you-need.html


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Post #: 20
RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/4/2018 9:24:48 AM   
zakblood


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latest information is it's all types of cpu from all makers,

https://www.cnet.com/uk/how-to/how-to-fix-meltdown-spectre-intel-amd-arm-windows-mac-android-ios/


and doesn't just effect windows either, as the link now shows, it's global

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Post #: 21
RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/4/2018 9:27:40 AM   
zakblood


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for now, a quick fix if you wish to use it,

quote:

To turn on Site Isolation on Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS or Android:

Type or copy-paste chrome://flags/#enable-site-per-process into the URL field at the top of your Chrome web browser, then hit the Enter key.
Look for Strict Site Isolation, then tap or click the box labeled Enable.
If your work is saved, hit Relaunch Now. Otherwise, save your work, then quit and relaunch Chrome.








or wait for the patches to roll out the auto ones etc, your call as always, this is just part or a larger issue, but patched or fixed on day one, the others will roll out asap

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by zakblood -- 1/4/2018 9:29:11 AM >

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Post #: 22
RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/4/2018 11:34:31 AM   
Karri

 

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Good news is that this doesn't affect game performance, at least as per initial testing.

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RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/4/2018 3:41:29 PM   
zakblood


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https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/4056892/windows-10-update-kb4056892


Improvements and fixes
This update includes quality improvements. No new operating system features are being introduced in this update. Key changes include:

Addresses issue where event logs stop receiving events when a maximum file size policy is applied to the channel.
Addresses issue where printing an Office Online document in Microsoft Edge fails.
Addresses issue where the touch keyboard doesn’t support the standard layout for 109 keyboards.
Addresses video playback issues in applications such as Microsoft Edge that affect some devices when playing back video on a monitor and a secondary, duplicated display.
Addresses issue where Microsoft Edge stops responding for up to 3 seconds while displaying content from a software rendering path.
Addresses issue where only 4 TB of memory is shown as available in Task Manager in Windows Server version 1709 when more memory is actually installed, configured, and available.
Security updates to Windows SMB Server, the Windows Subsystem for Linux, Windows Kernel, Windows Datacenter Networking, Windows Graphics, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, and the Microsoft Scripting Engine.

plus more than a few other fixes, so far a 6 hour test has confirmed really no impact on games, so it's seems it's only a few apps which it may effect


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Post #: 24
RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/4/2018 4:35:34 PM   
berto


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Beyond the vague "security updates to ... Windows Kernel ...", do we have confirmation that KB4056892 fixes the Meltdown and Spectre bugs specifically? Has Microsoft otherwise made this clear?

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RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/4/2018 4:38:25 PM   
Lecivius


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quote:

ORIGINAL: berto


Beyond the vague "security updates to ... Windows Kernel ...", do we have confirmation that KB4056892 fixes the Meltdown and Spectre bugs specifically? Has Microsoft otherwise made this clear?


No. Meltdown 'might' be corrected via a patch, yet to be seen. I don't see how Spectre can be fixed in any other fashion than new HW.

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RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/4/2018 5:01:36 PM   
Rodwonder

 

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Thanks for the heads up!!! Wow!

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Post #: 27
RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/4/2018 5:15:23 PM   
ncc1701e


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Karri

Good news is that this doesn't affect game performance, at least as per initial testing.


Cool crossing fingers...

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You don't trust me, do you? I don't blame you. If there is to be a brave new world, our generation is going to have the hardest time living in it.

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Post #: 28
RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/4/2018 5:39:59 PM   
Franciscus


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It's the end of the world...Run for the hills

Seriously I am not overly concerned about all this stuff in regard to my personal usage of PCs.

But if this will entail significant performance drops in the servers of my hospital - that are already a their limits -that may seriously affect my daily work.


We will see...

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RE: Huge Intel CPU Bug - 1/4/2018 7:04:02 PM   
Lobster


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lecivius


quote:

ORIGINAL: berto


Beyond the vague "security updates to ... Windows Kernel ...", do we have confirmation that KB4056892 fixes the Meltdown and Spectre bugs specifically? Has Microsoft otherwise made this clear?


No. Meltdown 'might' be corrected via a patch, yet to be seen. I don't see how Spectre can be fixed in any other fashion than new HW.


So when can I expect my new CPU to arrive to replace my old one because of manufacturing defects?

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