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Explainer: How chip flaws Spectre, Meltdown work and what´s next


Added 01-12-18 02:39:02am EST - “Smartphones, PCs and servers across the world have received software updates in recent days to plug security gaps on computer chips that cyber security researchers have described as the most serious threat in years.” - Reuters.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Reuters.com: “Explainer: How chip flaws Spectre, Meltdown work and what's next”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Smartphones, PCs and servers across the world have received software updates in recent days to plug security gaps on computer chips that cyber security researchers have described as the most serious threat in years.

Researchers identified the problem last year, shared details with chip manufacturers last summer, and then made a public announcement Jan. 3.

The vulnerabilities, known as Meltdown and Spectre, can allow passwords and other sensitive data on chips to be read. The flaws result from the way computers try to guess what users are likely to do next, a process called speculative execution.

Simon Segars, the chief executive of chip designer ARM Holdings, described speculative execution as the equivalent of spinning a bunch of plates in the air, with the plates holding data.

Watching the order in which the plates land lets observers infer the data, he told Reuters during an interview on Wednesday at the tech industry’s CES conference in Las Vegas.

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