Spectre and Meltdown Attacks
After a week or so of rumors, everyone is now reporting about the Spectre and Meltdown attacks against pretty much every modern processor out there.
These are side-channel attacks where one process can spy on other processes. They affect computers where an untrusted browser window can execute code, phones that have multiple apps running at the same time, and cloud computing networks that run lots of different processes at once. Fixing them either requires a patch that results in a major performance hit, or is impossible and requires a re-architecture of conditional execution in future CPU chips.
I’ll be writing something for publication over the next few days. This post is basically just a link repository.
EDITED TO ADD: Good technical explanation. And a Slashdot thread.
EDITED TO ADD (1/5): Another good technical description. And how the exploits work through browsers. A rundown of what vendors are doing. Nicholas Weaver on its effects on individual computers.
EDITED TO ADD (1/7): xkcd.
EDITED TO ADD (1/10): Another good technical description.
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