Meltdown and Spectre: What you need to know about the computer chip flaws
Companies struggled to issue updates to protect computers and devices from Meltdown and Spectre. Nvidia made a claim that their GPU products are immune. ( David Becker | Getty Images )
Early last week, reports confirmed the existence the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerability on most computing devices. Nvidia updates its drivers to defend against the exploit.
Technology experts worldwide scrambled to come up with countermeasures to protect computers, servers, smartphones, and more from any intrusion from hackers. Now, it seems like GPUs might also be vulnerable to the side-channel exploit.
Nvidia released a new set of updates for its product lineup to hopefully patch out any weaknesses. The company likewise confirmed that it plans to consult with its partners in order to come up with future improvements.
Sources confirmed that Nvidia was confident that its products are reportedly safe from Meltdown, which experts believe to be only specific to Intel-based processors. However, it was initially suspected that its entire lineup for its GeForce, NVS, Tegra, Quadro, and Grid series were susceptible to the Spectre exploit.
However, it was pointed out that the aforementioned vulnerabilities were limited to CPUs only. Therefore, its product lineup should technically be safe from the aforementioned weaknesses.
Nvidia Speaks Up
To clear things up, the manufacturer released a statement that aims to clarify any misunderstanding about the new patches. In addition, it confirms that all of its products are completely safe from Meltdown and Spectre.
“Our GPUs are immune, they are not affected by these security issues. What we did was release driver updates to patch CPU security vulnerabilities. We are patching the CPU vulnerabilities in the same way Amazon will, Epic, and Microsoft, because we have software, too,” said Jensen Huang, the CEO of Nvidia. “Anyone who writes software has to patch. So we have to patch our drivers to patch the CPU vulnerabilities. I am absolutely certain our GPU is not affected.”
Microsoft Patch Problems
As everyone struggled to push updates and release patches last week, problems were already expected to crop up. Microsoft detailed some of the issues it encountered with certain antivirus software, which allegedly causes problems with its security update and caused boot problems with certain systems.
Discovery And Announcement
The Meltdown and Spectre side-channel vulnerabilities were discovered through Google’s Project Zero by Jann Horn, one of the researchers. Once hackers successfully use the exploit, they can apparently access sensitive information such as passwords, cryptographic key material, and more, according to the initial findings from Google.
Apple Patches Its Products
Another thing that is surprising about Spectre and Meltdown is the wide range of CPUs it can apparently affect. Even ARM-based chipsets, which Apple uses on some of its products, are likewise at risk. The Cupertino technology company urged its users to update its devices to the latest firmware.
So far, only Nvidia has come out to confirm that its products are not at risk.
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