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Meltdown and Spectre Vulnerabilities and Countermeasures Explained in Linux Security Podcast

By Bret Kinsella

It is not an overstatement to say that the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities were a surprise to the security and microprocessor industries. Chip-level vulnerabilities this severe are rare. Part of the issue stemmed from the fact that the vulnerabilities were created by engineering choices designed to improve microprocessor speed. The engineers had simply not contemplated how hackers could exploit these “features” and security researchers rarely look into chip level design for vulnerabilities.

The result? Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities were open for a long time and impacted just about every mobile device in circulation. And, because they involved privileged access at the microprocessor level, no security tool would ever have identified successful attacks. We may never know if the vulnerabilities were exploited or what damage may have been done. Meltdown and Spectre have largely been closed, but there was a performance hit in terms of microprocessor speed and a lot of effort in updating Linux OS images.

Get the Lowdown on Meltdown from Mike Shinn

Atomicorp’s Mike Shinn has in-depth knowledge of the incident and breaks down the “flaws” and countermeasures in the most recent episode of the Linux Security Podcast. You can listen below or find links to listen through Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play Music and more right here.

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