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2018-01-09 12:10 by Karl Denninger
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A Different View On Intel and Cybersecurity
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Were there anything approaching the Rule of Law in this country Intel would be bankrupt by now.

Let's leave aside their claim, made publicly, that their chips were operating "as designed."  Maybe so, but the question then becomes did you know they were vulnerable and yet proclaimed on a continued basis that the ring design you used was secure?

See, the problem isn't that Intel made a mistake.  We know they did.  There are two different attack vectors involved here and Meltdown doesn't impact anyone but Intel (AMD and ARM are not vulnerable) and the Meltdown bug, which Intel is vulnerable to, is the far-more serious problem because it allows cross-protection boundary access to data.  In other words the allegedly-secure encryption keys in said protected parts of the environment are not secure.

Companies make mistakes all the time.  But what we now know is that Intel knew of the problem six months or so ago and yet continued to manufacture and ship chips that they knew were vulnerable in this manner.

Worse, their CEO sold a huge amount of stock -- all but the board-required minimum holding -- after the company became aware of the flaw.

Why did not Intel shut down the production line and recall everything in the pipeline until they could get a new photomask and start producing chips with the issue mitigated once they became aware of the problem?

Because Intel would have taken a huge financial hit, that's why; it would have cost them billions in sales.

Instead Intel sold into the market chips they knew were insecure and the operating system changes required to work around the flaw, which at the time did not existwould materially impact performance.

Where are the damned indictments?

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Nevertoolate
Posts: 1451
Incept: 2007-08-26
A True American Patriot!
San Antonio de Bexar de runover with illegals, Texas
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The lawyers were waiting for it to rise to the level of a class action lawsuit. A zero is a zero, but this way the attorneys get more $. More $ than defending CEO's.
This way they send $5 to everyone who ever had an intel processor and they get the vast bulk of the settlement.

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Democracy is a conversation between 2 wolves & a sheep discussing what's for dinner. A Constitutional Republic is found when the sheep pulls out a gun & makes clear that his 2nd Amendment Right will be exercised should the wolves attempt to hold such a "vote."-KD 9-29-15
Curbyourrisk
Posts: 4030
Incept: 2008-08-19

Farmingdale, NY
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Are there any new laptops out there (outside building my own) that would be considered safe? Looking to update my current Toshiba laptop (5 years old now).

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Time is up.

I hate to burst your bubble, but there is no Santa Claus, the tooth fairy does not exist and American justice does not involve the courts.
Tickerguy
Posts: 151187
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If you don't NEED to buy now I wouldn't -- I'd wait for an updated processor line, simply because while this CAN be patched the slowdown will be QUITE material.

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Winding it down.
Goforbroke
Posts: 7205
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Time to feed the chickens.
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And according to CNBS this morning, the Microsoft patch/update can cause your machine to become unresponsive.

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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, and not our Darkness, that most frightens us. -- Marianne Williamson
Tickerguy
Posts: 151187
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Allegedly only for AMD processor units, BUT be careful. I have a friend of mine running down a "sudden death" problem on an INTEL box with Windows 10 that magically now refuses to load the OS.

It LOOKS LIKE a failure of the SSD, but it might not be. I cautioned him to be EXTREMELY careful and make damn sure he has a full image backup before screwing with it -- if that image backup succeeds then the patch ****ed him, obviously.

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Winding it down.
Azengrcat
Posts: 417
Incept: 2010-05-31

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Lets take make an analogy:

One of GEs suppliers tells GE Aviation that their turbine disks have a porosity issue that goes back 5-7 years. Word makes it up the chain to Immelt/Flannery. The CEO says well, we havent had any disk bursts so just keep shipping them and dont remove any engines from service. The the CEO sells stock suddenly.

When news gets out that GE is still using these disks, the CEO rationalizes Well the other guys use this supplier too! Meanwhile 1/3 - 1/2 of the airtraffic in the world are flying around with ticking time bombs that will kill the passengers and people without a moments notice. The media tries to cover GEs ass about how safe theyve been and how they will fix the problem quickly keep flying on those planes, what are you tinfoil hat crazies?!

Yeah

$INTC should be fd in the A big time
Tickerguy
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@Azengrcat Exactly.

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Asimov
Posts: 109618
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East Tennessee Eastern Time
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Sure would like to know how many private keys belonging to systems that people's lives directly depend on are already in the hands of people/nations that just *MIGHT* not have good intentions.

Maybe the better question would be: How many aren't.

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It's justifiably immoral to deal morally with an immoral entity.

Festina lente.
Tickerguy
Posts: 151187
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The assumption is "all of them"

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Whitehat
Posts: 261
Incept: 2017-06-27

The People's Republic of New York
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when everyone's intel machines start running slowly there will be an accelerated replacement cycle and intel's stock will surge. the CEO was merely liquidating at a high point and will buy back at this recent dip and be rewarded for his loyalty with the new higher stock value of his holdings. nothing material will ever happen to him. intel is too much of a major player and he must be very well networked, probably supplied a lot of "help" to the TLA's over the years baked right into the product.

can confirm three AMD machines were almost ****ed (blue screen with mem addresses) with the most recent MS update which allegedly includes this "fix." in common, Win 7 pro, bitlocker running at the processor level not using the SSD's encryption, SSD's, dual or multi core somewhat older AMD chipsets. no affect on my AMD systems using spinning disks and TruCrypt. the fix was to use an install disk to roll back to an earlier restore point. it says that the roll back was not successful, but upon reboot confirms that it happened and the update shows as failed. my intel multi core machines do not seem any different after this update, windows 7 and win 10.

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There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.
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"Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6:7)
Goforbroke
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Quote:
when everyone's intel machines start running slowly there will be an accelerated replacement cycle and intel's stock will surge
Clearly INTC has taken its business model from those companies in healthcare. Create a problem then "find" a solution which costs your customers big bucks.

There is zero accountability. Anywhere.

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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, and not our Darkness, that most frightens us. -- Marianne Williamson
Elkad
Posts: 358
Incept: 2009-09-04

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Well, just saw my first example of real world impact of the slowdown.

Dark Age of Camelot - a MMORPG I used to play - just had a serious lag problem show up after they patched vs Meltdown. Game became basically unplayable in the most heavily populated instances.

Emergency downtime today to attempt to address the issue. I assume they are throwing more hardware at the problem, but they didn't say.
Bodhi
Posts: 185
Incept: 2008-02-23

Georgia
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Quote:
can confirm three AMD machines were almost ****ed (blue screen with mem addresses) with the most recent MS update which allegedly includes this "fix."


I still use Win7 on my main desktop. I keep Windows Update disabled and check for updates manually. On Monday morning I read many a horror story of not only systems with AMD processors getting virtually bricked by the latest patch, but also many a system with Intel processors. I wasn't inclined anyway to install this patch, but now I have hidden this update and will take my chances. This fiasco has just accelerated my transition to Linux and away from Intel products.
Tsherry
Posts: 1012
Incept: 2008-12-09

Spokane WA
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There won't be any meaningful prosecution because we live in a lawless society.

We've not tried any patches at our office; the last software 'upgrade' that I ran on the lone Mac in the office bricked it. We're years away from what might be clean hardware, and we won't know that's clean for years onward.

Everything we hear them tell us is a lie. We're completely and utterly ****ed and there's not a thing that we're going to do about it. We're going to deserve everything coming our way.

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Omne mendacium est.
Vernonb
Posts: 1951
Incept: 2009-06-03

East of Sheol
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Yep ... typical. No different than Equifax. They know the harm they caused, know the stock will drop after public reporting, and so sell while they can before any public disclosure. All illegal trading on insider info to find a bag holder.

The chip thing reminds me of the early 6502s I think made by Rockwell. They couldn't jump across the 256 byte page boundary correctly. All the code was patched to get around that "feature."

Then we had the INTEL Pentiums with the FDIV flaw and lookup table errors.

Of course this is a much worse problem. The chip is operating but what he meant to say its operating according to its "piss poor design."

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Tickerguy
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Verification costs money and time.

It's that simple.

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Winding it down.
Krzelune
Posts: 5870
Incept: 2007-10-08

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I've patched 32 physical blade servers and two standalone servers over the last three days. roughly 1/2 SLES11 and 1/2 MS SVR2016. Also about 40 virtual MS SVR2016 and 20 virtual SLES11 all Hyper-V on SVR2016 clusters. All Intel and all but 16 of the physical servers are over 3 years old. I only had problems on one stand alone server which is the 2nd oldest server I have. I've tried a dozen times restoring the snapshot each time and gave up yesterday. I don't know why it won't install and neither does MS. I'm going to free up one of the new servers in the c7000 and decommission the one that won't load today. I absolutely notice the performance hit but end-users don't seem to see anything yet.... its only been three days and we still have a lot of people out for holidays.
Tickerguy
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Update: The guy who was running that failure down yesterday has confirmed that the physical SSD on which the unit was running IS PHYSICALLY OK.

I would be EXTREMELY careful and make damn sure your backups are good. When this "patch" hits your box you may need those backups as the unit may refuse to boot.

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Winding it down.
Djloche
Posts: 3727
Incept: 2008-07-07

Vancouver, WA
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I think data centers everywhere are having issues this week as patches screw things up. One service after another seems to have downtime and the only common thread I can see is storage

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Ckaminski
Posts: 4383
Incept: 2011-04-08

Mass-Hole!
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Looks like my job just finally pushed the update out to me. Sadly I must install it (PC is not mine to control), so I'm doing what I can to defer it until I can back up my **** - since we also encrypt our disks. :-/
Aztrader
Posts: 7913
Incept: 2007-09-10

Scottsdale, AZ
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AMD claimed they were affected only a few days ago...............

AMD Advanced Micro releases update on processor security; GPZ Variant 1 and 2 are applicable to AMD processors (12.14 +0.18)



The public disclosure on January 3rd that multiple research teams had discovered security issues related to how modern microprocessors handle speculative execution has brought to the forefront the constant vigilance needed to protect and secure data.

Google (GOOGL / GOOG) Project Zero (GPZ) Variant 1 (Bounds Check Bypass or Spectre) is applicable to AMD processors. "We believe this threat can be contained with an operating system (OS) patch and we have been working with OS providers to address this issue." Microsoft (MSFT) is distributing patches for the majority of AMD systems now. "We are working closely with them to correct an issue that paused the distribution of patches for some older AMD processors (AMD Opteron, Athlon and AMD Turion X2 Ultra families) earlier this week. We expect this issue to be corrected shortly and Microsoft should resume updates for these older processors by next week."
GPZ Variant 2 (Branch Target Injection or Spectre) is applicable to AMD processors. "While we believe that AMD's processor architectures make it difficult to exploit Variant 2, we continue to work closely with the industry on this threat. We have defined additional steps through a combination of processor microcode updates and OS patches that we will make available to AMD customers and partners to further mitigate the threat." AMD will make optional microcode updates available to customers and partners for Ryzen and EPYC processors starting this week. "We expect to make updates available for our previous generation products over the coming weeks."
GPZ Variant 3 (Rogue Data Cache Load or Meltdown) is not applicable to AMD processors. "We believe AMD processors are not susceptible due to our use of privilege level protections within paging architecture and no mitigation is required."
"There have also been questions about GPU architectures. AMD Radeon GPU architectures do not use speculative execution and thus are not susceptible to these threats. We will provide further updates as appropriate on this site as AMD and the industry continue our collaborative work to develop mitigation solutions to protect users from these latest security threats."
Dennisglover
Posts: 954
Incept: 2012-12-05

Huntsville, AL
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I had lunch today with the Program Manager and the contracts team. Sitting next to me was a guy who graduated from high school with me, same date, same place. I asked him if "they" (people working in G-6 at Space and Missile Command) had heard about Spectre and the other one.

This guy is a Microsoft Certified Platform Specialist, and a CISSP, and so on...

His answer? "We've heard about it, but there's not much we can do until the fixes come out."

Oh, that's encouraging!

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TANSTAAFL
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