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The inventor of Linux is furious at Intel

Filed under
Security

Linux inventor and founder Linus Torvalds is not known for holding back strong opinions he has about computers, which is why he's become one of the loudest voices critical of Intel's handling of the so-called Meltdown bug, which was revealed on Wednesday and could enable an attacker to steal confidential information, including passwords.

"I think somebody inside of Intel needs to really take a long hard look at their CPU's, and actually admit that they have issues instead of writing PR blurbs that say that everything works as designed," Torvalds wrote in a sharply-worded email sent on to a Linux list on Wednesday.

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Also: SUSE Responds to Meltdown and Spectre CPU Vulnerabilities in SLE and openSUSE

Debian, SUSE, Canonical

Red Hat

  • Red Hat responds to the Intel processor flaw

    These problems seem to have come about as a result of "speculative execution" -- an optimization technique that involves doing work before it is known whether that work will be needed. Correcting the vulnerabilities, therefore, comes at a performance price. More information on this tradeoff is available from this Red Hat post. Patches could slow down systems by as much as 30% -- a hit that most users are likely to feel. However, the specific performance impact will be workload dependent. To address Spectre in the short term, Red Hat has modified the kernel by default to not use the performance features that enable the vulnerability. Their customers do have the option to disable the patch and use the performance features. While Red Hat is working with chip manufacturers and OEMs on a longer-term solution, this option gives customers a way to make their own security and performance decisions

  • Red Hat, tech giants move to counter major security flaws Meltdown, Spectre

    Computer security experts have discovered two major security flaws in the microprocessors inside nearly all of the world’s computers.

    The two problems, called Meltdown and Spectre, could allow hackers to steal the entire memory contents of computers, including mobile devices, personal computers, servers running in so-called cloud computer networks.

  • Speculative Execution Exploit Performance Impacts - Describing the performance impacts to security patches for CVE-2017-5754 CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715

    The recent speculative execution CVEs address three potential attacks across a wide variety of architectures and hardware platforms, each requiring slightly different fixes. In many cases, these fixes also require microcode updates from the hardware vendors. Red Hat has delivered updated Red Hat Enterprise Linux kernels that focus on securing customer deployments. The nature of these vulnerabilities and their fixes introduces the possibility of reduced performance on patched systems. The performance impact depends on the hardware and the applications in place.

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