Processor Security Threats: Spectre and Meltdown

Spectre and Meltdown, the two security flaws are found affecting ARM, AMD and Intel processors. These two major security threats, spectre and meltdown can easily affect the computer processor and can successfully steal the important data without the knowledge of user.

Spectre and Meltdown threats

What is Meltdown?

Meltdown is a security flaw which allows the hackers to dodge the highly protected potential hardware barrier between the software applications running on system and the core memory of the computer. Meltdown is the name given to the security threat because this flaw melts down the security barrier imposed by hardware.

What is Spectre?

Spectre is also a security flaw that affects the processors performing branch predictions. This attack results in branch misprediction, ends up in attackers successfully obtaining the sensitive data. Spectre is the name given to this security flaw on the basis of root cause, speculative execution, as this spectre security flaw is not easy to fix.

How Spectre and Meltdown can be mitigated?

According to security experts the meltdown can be mitigated through updating OS and requiring no extra firmware updates. Need to turn on the website isolation in browsers like Chrome and Firefox as a precautionary measure against Spectre attack.

Which Processors are affected by Spectre and Meltdown?

Intel and ARM processors can be affected by Meltdown threat. Any Laptop, Cloud computers and Desktop with Intel and ARM processors may get affected by Meltdown. Specifically Intel processors implementing out-of-order execution have high probability of getting affected, mostly processors built since 1995(other than Intel Itanium and Atom before 2013).

Currently research is being made on the effect of Meltdown on AMD processors.

Meltdown may affect even the ARM processors. Here is the list of ARM processors that may get affected by Meltdown

  • Cortex-R7
  • Cortex-R8
  • Cortex-A8
  • Cortex-A9
  • Cortex-A15
  • Cortex-A17
  • Cortex-A57
  • Cortex-A72
  • Cortex-A73
  • Cortex-A75

According to research made, the above mentioned ARM processors are prone to meltdown security flaw.

Spectre can affect Intel, ARM and AMD processors to certain extent. It may affect every type of system like Smartphone, Desktop, Laptop and Cloud Servers as well. To be very specific, spectre may potentially affect the modern processors being capable of keeping many instructions in flight. Particularly the effect of Spectre on Intel, AMD and ARM processors is been verified.

To mitigate the spectre and meltdown security flaws the Microsoft had released new update for Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and for all versions of Windows 10.

Stay informed on Spectre and Meltdown security flaws, as we will get you more on these security issues and new updates to mitigate these processor security flaws.

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