Meldown and Specter are two vulnerabilities linked to the hardware of the microprocessors installed in almost all devices. The flaws were discovered by several teams including experts from Google Project Zero, security firm Cyberus, or universities, such as Pennsylvania, Maryland and Graz.
As analysts point out, Meltdown has the shape of a melted shield because it literally “melts” the security limits set by the hardware. Meanwhile, Specter is a ghost because it exploits to slip behind the so-called “speculative execution”, which is a function used by chips to save time by “speculating” probable options.
It happens when, for example, you click on a text document and several alternatives appear: open, copy, delete … In this way, the processor draws the necessary line of code for each of them with the intention of anticipating the user and work faster. The inconvenient? Which in turn leaves a trail exploited by vulnerabilities such as Meltdown and Specter.
Although the companies knew the problem since June, as reported by a spokesman Bussines Insider, the news has not appeared until this week with the arrival of the first patches and the end of the embargo. Brian Krzanich, the CEO of Intel, took advantage of the events in November to sell half of his shares. Interestingly, it is the same that on January 8 will be responsible for giving the first CES conference in Las Vegas, one of the most important annual technology events in the world.
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