PhD student at Ircam, doing research on programming languages for temporal interaction. Former sound engineer and computer music designer.
Which systems are affected by Meltdown?
Desktop, Laptop, and Cloud computers may be affected by Meltdown. More technically, every Intel processor which implements out-of-order execution is potentially affected, which is effectively every processor since 1995 (except Intel Itanium and Intel Atom before 2013). We successfully tested Meltdown on Intel processor generations released as early as 2011. Currently, we have only verified Meltdown on Intel processors. At the moment, it is unclear whether AMD processors are also affected by Meltdown. According to ARM, some of their processors are also affected.
Which systems are affected by Spectre?
Almost every system is affected by Spectre: Desktops, Laptops, Cloud Servers, as well as Smartphones. More specifically, all modern processors capable of keeping many instructions in flight are potentially vulnerable. In particular, we have verified Spectre on Intel, AMD, and ARM processors.
Meltdown removes the barrier between user applications and sensitive parts of the operating system while Spectre, which is also reportedly found in some AMD and ARM processors, can trick vulnerable applications into leaking the contents of their memory.
"There are papers about the risky side-effects of speculative loads – people knew, and as a result no other vendor's chips does speculative loads (Meltdown – Intel Only) in a significant way," said de Raadt who heads a project that has an enviable reputation in that it has had just two remotely exploitable bugs in its default install since it started in 1996.
"Intel engineers attended the same conferences as other company engineers, and read the same papers about performance enhancing strategies – so it is hard to believe they ignored the risky aspects. I bet they were instructed to ignore the risk," he said.
"It is a scandal, and I want repaired processors for free. I don't care if they are 30% slower, as long as they work to spec. Intel has been exceedingly clever to mix Meltdown (speculative loads) with a separate issue (Spectre). This is pulling the wool over the public's eyes."
Given that, his barely suppressed anger at the security snafus revealed last week was understandable. "I am terrified of where this leads. Intel architecture is already very inconsistent, complex, and difficult to deal with," he said.
"Suddenly the trickiest parts of a kernel need to do backflips to cope with problems deep in the micro-architecture. This tricky component of kernel software is now becoming more complicated than it was in the past. We are used to hardware hiding the complexity and providing a uniform safe view."
De Raadt said there would be a "big price to pay for the complexity of handling exposure to the micro-architecture down the road, mark my words".
"Decades old trap/fault software is being replaced by 10-20 operating systems, and there are going to be mistakes made."
MórWell you said you have gaming computer. Typically that means its for playing games. If you are not, then no worries. Just be safe when browsing Internet. This is relevant even without spectre/meltdown, because who knows how many exploits are there which are not yet discovered by security reasearchers.
I am not running other people's games on this machine.
But is it necessary for the computer to have SSD or is HDD fine? What's the difference?HDD is fine. SSD is better. You can do everything in HH fine with just a HDD. Afaik Casey is still using HDD - since beginning of HH.