Intel and AMD chips are vulnerable to scary new attack — Spectre has returned [Update: Intel says threat is mitigated] | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Intel and AMD chips are vulnerable to scary new attack — Spectre has returned [Update: Intel says threat is mitigated]

Now Spectre has returned. Researchers from the University of Virginia and the University of California San Diego determined that the new variants leak data via micro-op caches, which are used to speed up processing by storing simple commands so CPUs can grab them quickly.

Every AMD (since 2017) and Intel (since 2011) chip uses micro-op caches so they are all theoretically vulnerable to this attack. The security researchers who discovered these variants listed three possible ways a CPU could be infiltrated.

  • A same thread cross-domain attack that leaks secrets across the user- kernel boundary;
  • A cross-SMT thread attack that transmits secrets across two SMT threads running on the same physical core, but different logical cores, via the micro-op cache;
  • Transient execution attacks that have the ability to leak an unauthorized secret accessed along a misspeculated path, even before the transient instruction is dispatched to execution.

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