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Hardware Security Fiasco: The Latest

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Security
  • Windows 10 Cumulative Update KB4056892 (Meltdown & Spectre Fix) Fails to Install

    Microsoft rolled out Windows 10 cumulative update KB4056892 yesterday as an emergency patch for systems running the Fall Creators Update in an attempt to fix the Meltdown and Spectre bugs affecting Intel, AMD, and ARM processors manufactured in the last two decades.

    But as it turns out, instead of fixing the two security vulnerabilities on some computers, the cumulative update actually breaks them down, with several users complaining that their systems were rendered useless after attempting to install KB4056892.

    Our readers pointed me to three different Microsoft Community threads (1, 2, 3) where users reported cumulative update KB4056892 issues, and in every case the problem appears to be exactly the same: AMD systems end up with a boot error before trying a rollback and failing with error 0x800f0845.

  • Linus Torvalds says Intel needs to admit it has issues with CPUs

    Linux creator Linus Torvalds has had some harsh words for Intel in the course of a discussion about patches for two [sic] bugs that were found to affect most of the company's processors.

  • We translated Intel's crap attempt to spin its way out of CPU security bug PR nightmare

    In the wake of The Register's report on Tuesday about the vulnerabilities affecting Intel chips, Chipzilla on Wednesday issued a press release to address the problems disclosed by Google's security researchers that afternoon.

    To help put Intel's claims into context, we've annotated the text. Bold is Intel's spin.

  • When F00F bug hit 20 years ago, Intel reacted the same way

    A little more than 20 years ago, Intel faced a problem with its processors, though it was not as big an issue as compared to the speculative execution bugs that were revealed this week.

  • Meltdown, Spectre and the Future of Secure Hardware

    Meltdown and Spectre are two different—but equally nasty—exploits in hardware. They are local, read-only exploits not known to corrupt, delete, nor modify data. For local single user laptops, such as Librem laptops, this is not as large of a threat as on shared servers—where a user on one virtual machine could access another user’s data on a separate virtual machine.

    As we have stated numerous times, security is a game of depth. To exploit any given layer, you go to a lower layer and you have access to everything higher in the stack.

  • KPTI — the new kernel feature to mitigate “meltdown”
  • Astounding coincidence: Intel's CEO liquidated all the stock he was legally permitted to sell after learning of catastrophic processor flaws
  • Intel CEO sold all the stock he could after Intel learned of security bug

     

    While an Intel spokesperson told CBS Marketwatch reporter Jeremy Owens that the trades were "unrelated" to the security revelations, and Intel financial filings showed that the stock sales were previously scheduled, Krzanich scheduled those sales on October 30. That's a full five months after researchers informed Intel of the vulnerabilities. And Intel has offered no further explanation of why Krzanich abruptly sold off all the stock he was permitted to.

CentOS Linux Receives

  • CentOS Linux Receives Security Updates Against Meltdown and Spectre Exploits

    Free Red Hat clone CentOS Linux has received an important kernel security update that patches the Meltdown and Spectre exploits affecting billions of devices powered by modern processors.

  • Ubuntu will fix Meltdown and Spectre by January 9th

    Ubuntu, perhaps the most popular Linux distribution, on the desktop, which has multitudes of other distributions depending on it to send out security updates, has announced that it will update the kernels of all supported releases in order to mitigate the newly publicly disclosed Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, by January 9th.

  • Check This List to See If You’re Still Vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre [Updated]

    Security researchers revealed disastrous flaws in processors manufactured by Intel and other companies this week. The vulnerabilities, which were discovered by Google’s Project Zero and nicknamed Meltdown and Spectre, can cause data to leak from kernel memory—which is really not ideal since the kernel is central to operating systems and handles a bunch of sensitive processes.

    Intel says that it’s working to update all of the processors it has introduced in the last few years. “By the end of next week, Intel expects to have issued updates for more than 90 percent of processor products introduced within the past five years,” the company said in a statement today.

  • Meltdown and Spectre CPU Flaws Expose Modern Systems to Risk

    After a rollercoaster day of speculation on Jan. 3 about a severe Intel chip flaw, Google's Project Zero research team revealed later that same day details about the CPU vulnerabilities.

    The CPU flaws have been branded as Meltdown and Spectre and have widespread impact across different silicon, operating system, browser and cloud vendors. The Meltdown flaw, identified as CVE-2017-5754, affects Intel CPUs. Spectre, known as CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715, impacts all modern processors, including ones from Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and ARM.

  • Major Intel Kernel flaw may impact performance across Linux, Windows and Mac OS

    New reports have surfaced suggesting that there might be a major security flaw with Intel processors launched in the last decade. The harsh part is that patching the issue might slow down the performance of the CPU by up to 30 percent. Intel hasn't put out an official statement yet, but Linux Kernel patches are being pushed out to all users.

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Graphics: XRGEARS and Arcan's Latest

  • XRGEARS: Infamous "Gears" Now On VR Headsets With OpenHMD, Vulkan
    Well, the virtual reality (VR) demo scene is now complete with having glxgears-inspired gears and Utah teapot rendering on VR head mounted displays with the new XRGEARS. Kidding aside about the gears and teapot, XRGEARS is a nifty new open-source project with real value by Collabora developer Lubosz Sarnecki. XRGEARS is a standalone VR demo application built using the OpenHMD initiative for tracking and Vulkan for rendering. XRGEARS supports both Wayland and X11 environments or even running off KMS itself. This code also makes use of VK_EXT_direct_mode_display with DRM leasing.
  • Arcan versus Xorg – Approaching Feature Parity
    This is the first article out of three in a series where I will go through what I consider to be the relevant Xorg feature set, and compare it, point by point, to how the corresponding solution or category works in Arcan. This article will solely focus on the Display Server set of features and how they relate to Xorg features, The second article will cover the features that are currently missing (e.g. network transparency) when they have been accounted for. The third article will cover the features that are already present in Arcan (and there are quite a few of those) but does not exist in Xorg.
  • Arcan Display Server Is Nearing Feature Parity With The X.Org Server
    The Arcan display server, which started off years ago sounding like a novelty with being a display server built off a game engine in part and other interesting features, is nearing feature parity with the X.Org Server. While most hobbyist display server projects have failed, Arcan has continued advancing and with an interesting feature set. Recently they have even been working on a virtual reality desktop and an interesting desktop in general. Arcan is getting close to being able to offering the same functionality as a traditional X.Org Server. If you are interested in a lengthy technical read about the differences between Arcan and X.Org, the Arcan developers themselves did some comparing and contrasting when it comes to the display support, windowing, input, font management, synchronization, and other areas.

CoC/Systemd Supremacy Over Linux Kernel

  • New Linux Code of Conduct Revisions: CoC Committee Added Plus Interpretation & Mediator
    The Linux Code of Conduct introduced last month that ended up being quite contentious will see some revisions just ahead of the Linux 4.19 stable kernel release. Greg Kroah-Hartman has outlined the planned changes as well as a new Code of Conduct Interpretation document. In the weeks since the Linux kernel CoC was merged, various patches were proposed but none merged yet. It turns out Greg KH was working in private with various kernel maintainers/developers on addressing their feedback and trying to come up with solutions to the contentious issues in private.
  • Some kernel code-of-conduct refinements
    Greg Kroah-Hartman has posted a series of patches making some changes around the newly adopted code of conduct. In particular, it adds a new document describing how the code is to be interpreted in the kernel community.
  • Systemd Adds Feature To Fallback Automatically To Older Kernels On Failure
    Systemd's latest feature is the concept of "boot counting" that will track kernel boot attempts and failures as part of an automatic boot assessment. Ultimately this is to provide automatic fallback to older kernels should a newer kernel be consistently failing. The feature was crafted over the past few months by Lennart Poettering himself to provide a way when making use of systemd-boot on UEFI systems it can automatically fallback to an older kernel if a newer kernel is consistently causing problems. This is treated as an add-on to the Boot Loader Specification. The systemd boot assessment is designed that it could also be used by non-UEFI systems and other boot platforms.

ODROID 'Hacker Board'

  • ODROID Rolling Out New Intel-Powered Single Board Computer After Trying With Ryzen
    While ODROID is most known for their various ARM single board computers (SBCs), some of which offer impressive specs, they have dabbled in x86 SBCs and on Friday announced the Intel-powered ODROID-H2. In the announcement they mentioned as well they were exploring an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U powered SBC computer, which offered fast performance but the price ended up being prohibitive. After the falling out with Ryzen over those cost concerns, they decided to go ahead with an Intel Geminilake SoC. Geminilake is slower than their proposed Ryzen board, but the price was reasonable and it ends up still being much faster than ODROID's earlier Apollolake SBC.
  • Odroid-H2 is world’s first Gemini Lake hacker board
    Hardkernel unveiled the Odroid-H2, the first hacker board with an Intel Gemini Lake SoC. The Ubuntu 18.10 driven SBC ships with 2x SATA 3.0, 2x GbE, HDMI and DP, 4x USB, and an M.2 slot for NVMe. When the Odroid-H2 goes on sale in November at a price that will be “higher than $100,” Hardkernel will join a small group of vendors that have launched a community backed x86-based SBC. This first open spec hacker board built around Intel’s new Gemini Lake SoC — and one of the first Gemini Lake SBCs of any kind — follows earlier Arm-based Odroid winners such as the Odroid-C2 Raspberry Pi pseudo clone and the octa-core Odroid-XU4.