The new year also started with a shocking announcement for the IT industry: Many processors since about 1995 have three serious security holes. These were baptized Spectre and Meltdown, Spectre includes 2 attack variants.
The gap is in the operation of almost all modern processors, so many manufacturers now have to work together. It is not enough to solve it with a single patch.
Simply explained: The CPUs predict recurring operations, such as a file call, and load them so that the actual access can be done faster. A program with no special rights can now theoretically read this preloaded data. This read out memory information may include passwords of the user or other data.
Affected by this gap are many Intel CPUs and also ARM (smartphones) affected, AMD and the graphics card manufacturer Nvidia not to the same extent.
The good news: processors from the N270, which were previously used in many of our P1x65 Atom Panel PCs, are unaffected.
It is recommended that you install all security updates for the systems as soon as available. Even browsers should be updated, as this can also be accessed.
However, as it has now become known, the performance of the system updates can be reduced. So far, this has mainly been observed under Microsoft operating system server and 4th generation CPUs with Windows 10 and older or 6th generation CPUs and Windows 8 and older. With Windows Server, it may also be necessary to make further changes to the system. Not affected by the performance losses are 6th generation Intel CPUs and newer ones under Windows 10.
As always, we advise you to carefully check whether you can do without security updates. Discuss the topic with your system administrator.
Our customers, who would like to have all available updates delivered on delivery of new devices, will receive them as always, as soon as they can be retrieved by us via the official update channels.
(In addition to the links above in the text, you’ll find a dedicated page and blog posts from Google whose team uncovered that.)