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Spectre and Meltdown: What You Need to Know Right Now, (Thu, Jan 4th)

By now, you’ve heard about the processor vulnerabilities affecting almost every processor in common use today; those vulnerabilities are called Meltdown and Spectre. The only common platform that seems unaffected as of the current moment are iPhone/iPads (Removed per recent advisory).This bug is probably worth its name and logo considering the pervasive nature of the vulnerability. At its core, both involve kernel issues that can lead to leaking running memory outside the current process which can involve compromises¬†of system confidentiality (think encryption keys, passwords, PII/NPI in memory, etc). Contrary to some initial reporting, this is NOT just an Intel bug, it affects AMD and ARM processors as well. These could even be used in cloud / virtualized environments to leak memory outside the running virtual machine. It involves a flaw in “speculative execution” common in these processors where, in the right conditions, code can trick the processor in leaking data returned from other applications.

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