Earlier this year, the tech world was rocked when teams of security researchers, acting independently of each other, unearthed two chip vulnerabilities which essentially impacted every single Intel processor released over the last decade. The vulnerabilities were dubbed Spectre and Meltdown, and provided malicious actors with avenues to access sensitive data — such as usernames and passwords — even if stored in protected memory.
Adding another layer of embarrassment to the matter, Intel shortly thereafter rolled out a security patch only to caution OEMs and users to not install it amid reports that the patch itself “may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior.”
Now comes word via Intel that the company’s next-gen Xeon and 8th-gen Intel Core processors — which are slated for release in the second half of 2018 — will include design changes designed to combat variants of the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities.
“We have redesigned parts of the processor to introduce new levels of protection through partitioning that will protect against both Variants 2 and 3,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in a press release. “Think of this partitioning as additional ‘protective walls’ between applications and user privilege levels to create an obstacle for bad actors.”
As for existing machines, Krzanich notes that Intel has rolled out microcode updates for “100% of Intel products launched in the past five years that require protection…”
In conjunction with the press release, Intel also released a video with a simple explanation as to how the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities work. You can check that out below.