OS updates fix the exploit, but impact performance.
Intel and other chips manufactured in the past 10 years have a serious design flaw that exposes the operating system (Windows, MacOS or Linux) to attacks. The issue was first discovered in November, but the general public learns about it this week, as the update patches have already been compiled and started rolling to the computers.
Full details about the problem are yet to be disclosed, but we know that it’s connected to the kernel memory and malicious programs that could read sensitive content of the memory. This was apparently a design flaw in the chips, and unfortunately the update that fixes the issue will impact the performance. After isolating the kernel memory from the user processes via an update, the computers become 5 to 30% slower, according to a report at The Register.
Intel issued a statement that the company is working with AMD, ARM and other companies to develop an industry-wide approach to resolve the issue, but the solution will only affect the future chips, not all these already manufactured in the past decade.
However, the performance impact of the update patches could not be as noticeable as you may think based on the numbers as the impact very depending on the task. MacOS has been fixed in December with version 10.13.2, and we have information about Microsoft updating the Windows 10 machines this week. Older operating systems like Windows 7 will be updated later this month.