While all the detailed information about the exploit won’t be made public until the embargo is lifted later this month, the report highlights some important aspects.
It’s being reported that modern Intel processors have a design flaw that allows notorious programs to access the restricted areas of an operating system’s kernel memory. You might be knowing that programs installed on any computer have their specific set of permissions. The kernel has the highest level of permissions, and some of these permissions are enforced using CPUs hardware because this method is faster.
To fix this problem, the developers would need to separate the kernel memory altogether from user processer using Kernel Page Table Isolation. This separation is timewise expensive and expected to cause an increase in the kernel’s overhead, which could result in the slowing down of your computer.
As per the experts and kernel developers, be ready to see a 5-30% decline in your computer’s performance once the patches are rolled out. This performance impact would vary on the task and CPU model. The AMD CPU users should take a sigh of relief as their computers aren’t affected.
The report also hints that Macs are affected as well, but there’s little information on the same. Linux and Windows kernel development teams are working to release the updates and Apple is also expected to roll out a fix soon.
You can read The Register’s complete report for detailed technical information. We’ll be sharing more details about the issue once it becomes public.