Thursday, February 1, 2018

AMD vs Spectre: Our new Zen 2 chips will be protected, says CEO

AMD vs Spectre: Our new Zen 2 chips will be protected, says CEO

Forthcoming Zen 2 processors will include changes to deal with Spectre-like exploits, says chip giant.

AMD has said it has made changes to its forthcoming Zen 2 chips to protect them against Spectre-style flaws.

Spectre and Meltdown are flaws that have been discovered in the fundamental design of many chips, and which could allow attackers to steal data. Since the flaws were revealed the tech industry has been scrambling to fix them, with mixed results.

AMD's chips are not believed to be affected by Meltdown, which only applies to Intel, Apple and one type of Arm-based processors, but it's chips are vulnerable to Spectre.

Lisa Su, AMD's CEO, speaking as the company revealed its fourth-quarter results gave an update on the steps the company has taken to deal with Spectre, which has two types.

"For Spectre Variant 1, we continue actively working with our ecosystem partners on mitigations, including operating system patches that have begun to roll out," said Su.

She said that AMD continues to believe that variant 2 of Spectre is difficult to exploit on its processors but added that it is "deploying CPU microcode patches -- in combination with OS updates  to provide additional mitigation steps".

"Longer term, we have included changes in our future processor cores, starting with our Zen 2 design, to further address potential Spectre-like exploits," she said. Zen 2 is the next generation of AMD X86 processors, based on 7nm technology and due to arrive in 2019.

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