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Billions of PCs are under threat again. New vulnerability found in AMD and Intel processors



Several years ago, the IT market was stirred up by a wave of news about the detection of various kinds of vulnerabilities in modern processors. Specter vulnerability in all modern (at that time) Intel CPUs was quite serious. But in the end, this problem was solved.

Apparently, a new one has appeared. Scientists at the University of Virginia School of Engineering have discovered a new attack variant that again affects billions of PCs, now based on both Intel CPUs and AMD processors.

This time, the vulnerability allows attackers to exploit the micro-op cache found in all modern CPUs. For example, Intel processors have had it since 2011. In particular, data can be stolen when the processor retrieves it from this very cache. Importantly, those protections that work against the Specter vulnerability do not work in the case of a new one, since the micro-op cache is at a level below those blocks that are affected by past vulnerabilities.

This also poses an additional problem. The bottom line is that a theoretical patch that disabled the micro-op cache or stopped the speculative execution of commands would have an extremely negative impact on performance, that is, such a protection option is simply meaningless. The specialists who discovered the vulnerability do not yet know how to solve the problem without sacrificing a huge share of performance.

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