A critical flaw in Intel processors is forcing all major operating systems to issue a kernel redesign that could impact performance. Details of the flaw are currently under wraps, but it would appear that there is a memory leak that could allow attackers to read data as it passes through the unsecured kernel process.
Both Microsoft and Linux are set to push out their respective patches early this month, after which researchers will be free to publish what they know about the processor memory leak. However, it is understood that the fix will result in PC performance being degraded by between 5 and 30 percent; depending on the task and processor type.
MacOS will also be receiving a security patch, but it is unknown if this will also be resulting in a performance hit.
From what we understand, the Kernel Page Table Isolation – or KPTI – complete separates the kernel from running processes. Introducing a layer of insulation between the two, and preventing the memory leak from allowing processes to glimpse into what’s going on in the kernel.
No known malware is currently exploiting the vulnerability, which is why companies are scrambling to get the fix published. Fortunately, the patches have already been tested and should appearing soon. The bad news is that everyone will be seeing less performance from their processors.
For its part, AMD has not been affected by this problem. The company says that its microarchitecture doesn’t allow memory references; which is likely what the Intel problem is about.
[Source: The Register]