Intel to ship chips with built-in protection against Meltdown and Spectre, says CEO Brian Krzanich

Krzanich also said that he's aware that Intel has a lot of ground to cover in this regard.

Intel's woes began with the start of 2018 with the discovery of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities. Intel has acknowledged the issue and its CEO Brian Krzanich has assured that Intel chips coming out later this year will have built-in protection against these attacks.

Intel to ship chips with built-in protection against Meltdown and Spectre, says CEO Brian Krzanich

Intel. Reuters.

According to a report in Business Insider, Krzanich, during Intel's quarterly earnings call, said that Intel has assigned some of its best minds to work on the resolving the vulnerability. This will involve chip-level design changes. Krzanich also said that he's aware that Intel has a lot of ground to cover in this regard.

The Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities were discovered last year but only disclosed recently to the public. Both vulnerabilities are so fundamental to CPU design that around 20-years’ worth of processors are already affected and upcoming designs cannot be totally secure.

At the heart of the vulnerability is a modern processing technique known as speculative execution. In other words, this technique involves the computer performing a task before it’s needed. Speculative execution went mainstream between 15 and 20 years ago, so theoretically, every CPU made in the last 20 years or so is vulnerable.

(Also Read: Meltdown and Spectre: The Simple-English guide to the most worrying computer security flaw in decades)

The only way to fix these vulnerabilities is via OS updates which are slowing down PC performances in certain cases. Recently, Intel sent out advisory asking users not to install buggy security patches.

"We have received reports from a few customers of higher system reboots after applying firmware updates. Specifically, these systems are running Intel 'Broadwell' and 'Haswell' CPUs for both client and data centre," Navin Shenoy, vice president and general manager of Data Centre Group at Intel Corporation wrote in a blog post on 12 January. This even prompted Linux creator Linus Torvalds to publicly reprimand Intel patches by calling them 'garbage'. 

Speaking about the patches, Torvalds said that the patches did 'literally insane things' and things that did not make sense. He also added that he did not 'want to see these garbage patches just mindlessly sent around.'

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