A significant vulnerability has been discovered in all Intel processor chips and it’s going to have a huge impact in the future. The technology blog Register noticed this major design flaw in Linux kernel patch notes. All operating systems will have to be updated (Linux distributions, Windows, macOS…) and patches could cause large performance hit. The hit may be as high as 30 per cent for applications that are I/O intensive.
The serious design flaw vulnerability, now named ‘Meltdown’ that impacts billions of PC.
A vulnerability found by security researchers in Intel processors manufactured over the last ten or more years is poised to wreak havoc on the world of computing. And the fix? Well, it might not be pretty.
This vulnerability is quite nasty because it’s a widespread hardware bug. Updating your computer can’t make the problem disappear altogether. That’s why operating system vendors are currently redesigning some of the core functionalities of your computer as a workaround.
Google’s Project Zero team highlighted the problem, though according to them, the vulnerability extends beyond Intel, and includes ARM (their CPU architecture is commonly used on most smartphones), AMD and others. Microsoft has issued an emergency Windows 10 update for the ‘Meltdown’ vulnerability and a calming blogpost for Azure users.
The performance issue: will a patch slow your PC down?
But with a patch, will the cure be worse than the disease? Intel seems to feel that the typical end user won’t suffer any ill effects. “Contrary to some reports, any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time,” Intel said in its statement.
More evidence suggests that PC users won’t feel any significant effects from a patch. As our earlier report indicated, tests on several popular games using a patched version of Linux—not Windows—didn’t indicate any frame-rate drops outside a margin of error.