Intel Kernel Security Flaw Fix Could Reduce Performance By 27%

/ 6 years ago


Security Flaw in Intel x86 Processors

A significant design flaw has been found in Intel x86 processors which could impact heavily on Linux, Windows and MAC users. The solution to which, maybe cause owners of this processor type to experience slowdown of anything up to 27%.

A flaw was located within the Kernel Memory of the Intel processors. Although undoubtedly a matter some will choose to debate, this part represents one of the most fundamental parts of a processor.

Whenever a program needs to read or write information, it temporarily passes that to the kernel memory to decide how best to achieve that. Such data can include, for example; passwords and sensitive user information.

Unfortunately, this is an area which Intel is unable to apply a firmware patch to fix. Therefore the fix must come from Linux, Windows and MAC directly. It would also appear that the fix might come at a hefty cost.

Beginner's Intel CPU Installation Guide

The solution

Linux may already be working to a potential answer to the solution. By creating a separate kernel memory (from system processes) they hope to be able to plug the leak.

This problem is that this creates a massively higher demand on the processing and results have shown significant slows downs. A report via theregister suggests anything from 5% to as high as 27%.


Exactly how a user could gain access to this part of the kernel memory is unclear and seemingly, a bit under tabs for the moment. In fairness, its understandable until they have fixed it.

Windows are expected to launch a fix this Tuesday. Additionally, Apple having to work on fixes for both their 32 and 64 bit systems.

At present though, the fix in its current state will come with some significant consequences for Intel x86 processor owners as all models from the last 10 years are thought to be affected.

A potential solution offered is to buy a brand new processor, since they can fix it there. Alternatively, there is always Ryzen. I won’t judge you.

Intel Launches 'Gemini Lake' Pentium Silver and Celeron CPUs

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