The microprocessor provider makes recommendations to mitigate it
Since the beginning of 2018, several vulnerabilities affecting Intel processors for several years have been brought to light. These vulnerabilities exploit certain optimization mechanisms implemented in the processors, in particular the so-called speculative execution mode. These vulnerabilities (three variants) have been known as Spectrum and Meltdown.
Fixes were quickly put in place by Intel to alleviate the problem. The company has developed other microcodes for these processors. Google has also contributed to the building with the publication of a mitigation technique called Retpoline. Linux, too, by publishing its kernel 4.16 is patching against Meltdown and Specter. A PowerShell tool is available and makes it possible to make the inventory of the protections under Windows.
The discovery of these vulnerabilities has opened the door to further investigation of vulnerabilities in Intel's processors. On May 21, 2018, two other vulnerabilities involving speculative execution were unveiled. These are variant 3a (CVE-2018-3640) and variant 4 (CVE-2018-3639). And it's not over, another fault of moderate severity has been discovered again. This vulnerability (CVE-2018-3665) confirmed by Intel itself concerns the Intel Core family of microprocessors and could potentially be exploited to access sensitive data on a computer. Attackers who exploit this vulnerability can get information about the activity of other applications, including encryption operations.
"The system software can use the" Lazy FP state restore "technique to delay the restoration of a state until an instruction on that state is executed by a new process. Systems using Intel Core microprocessors can potentially allow a local process to extract data from another process through a speculative execution channel, "said Intel.
The company did not mention whether or not it would publish a patch to fix the flaw in the future. But right now, Intel seems to rely on the action of system software developers to protect PC users. The company made some technical recommendations to them to alleviate the problem. As with most spectrum flaws, the only long-term solution may be to change the CPU architecture. We could see new vulnerabilities appear until the problem is solved at the heart of Intel's architecture.