Intel Plans to Improve CPU Security
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Intel Plans to Improve CPU Security

May 8, 2018

 

Intel recently announced it will take a keener stance on security designs within forthcoming CPUs.  There are two new features designed to improve the efficiency of running programs that detect security threats.  Within Advanced Threat Protection, one of these designed features is called “advanced memory scanning,” which will seek out deceptive attacks as they are happening on the system. 

Another tool, called advanced platform telemetry, will speed up security programs that run on networking technology.  Of course, this all comes in response to the CPU design flaw discovered earlier this year that affected nearly everything. 

 

Last month, the company finished releasing code that would fix a problem allowing a hacker to access important information within the computer’s memory.  These flaws span to CPUs with a manufactured date over 10 years and affected hundreds of millions of processors.

 

 

This display of concern is supposed to give people confidence in the safety of Intel processors.  Since the news is always so tightly watched, any additional negative press on security problems will be quite problematic for Intel.  So any helpful news or upgrades to security features are highly welcomed.  One of these improvements is speeding up the computing power of the system to run cybersecurity programs much more efficiently.  Where normally the computer’s processing power is used around 20%, new features should reduce that percentage down to about 2, which is a significant difference and will help the computer run these programs altogether.

From the consumer perspective, they can feel better knowing that personal data stored on their devices are better protected than before.  These new features also include a new framework called ‘Intel Security Essentials,’ which standardizes security for each CPU product.

 

Before these improvements, however, the Spectre and Meltdown bugs dealt a lot of damage to Intel’s public image and caused a great deal of time and effort to mitigate the risks.  Even though the chip flaws were difficult to take advantage of, it wasn’t impossible.  Independent researchers published proof of concept that it was possible on how to exploit the vulnerabilities.  Fortunately for AMD, their line of product was not affected nearly as much as Intel, which made the focus of attention almost completely on them. 

 

 

It also didn’t help as they fumbled on the initial solutions to the problem.  The first batch of updates to combat Spectre and Meltdown were a complete disaster as they caused more harm than good, crashing the computer itself, sometimes irreversibly.  Those patches were deferred and had to roll out a few other microcode updates, altering code on the processors to resolve the issues.

 

As they look to future production, Intel will produce a more fundamental design change within the structure of the CPU, such as Cascade Lake and 8th Generation Core processors expected later this year.

 

 

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