The Spectre and Meltdown debacle from earlier this year has forced Intel to make some major changes in its chips to mitigate the critical vulnerabilities that exist at the processor level.
Keeping up their promise, Intel has announced that they have “redesigned parts of the processor to introduce new levels of protection through partitioning that will protect against both variants 2 and 3.”
The partitioning would introduce hurdles for bad actors by acting as “protective walls” between applications and user privilege levels. Meanwhile, the company will continue to address variant 1 through software mitigations.
Intel also said that they have released microcode updates to protect almost 100% of Intel products launched in the past five years against the speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities discovered by Google. These updates are being pushed to users via Windows Updates and updates released by PC vendors.
The updated processor design will be released in the form of Intel Scalable chips (codenamed Cascade Lake) and 8th Gen Intel Core processors that are expected to arrive in the market in the second half of 2018.
After the disclosure of the bugs, the silicon giant also faced the heat of criticism from people across the globe including Linus Torvalds. Earlier this month, a team of scientists created a Spectre-spinoff called SGXSpectre that’s designed to attack Intel’s Secure Extension Guard.
Now, with the hardware fix in development, it might give people some assurance until another vulnerability is discovered. Also, it would be interesting to see if the newly announced changed to would affected performance or not.