Spectre and meltdown are two processor level vulnerabilities. The Intel-specific vulnerability hasbeen dubbed Meltdown, while the underlying vulnerability is spectre which isnot an intel- specific vulnerability but affects all ARM, AMD and other chipmakers, though spectre is a vulnerability that can be called more serious as it’srooted in fundamental processor design flaws these two vulnerabilitieswere a result of a change in processing that was supposed to increase the speedof the processor the processors are made to anticipate what the users are goingto do next and do calculations according to the input in the background, thusthe relevant details are displayed as an output this process is called speculativeexecution, this system seems faster to the user. Kernels in operating systems havecomplete control over the entire system, and connect applications to the processorand the memory.
The kernel is responsible for memory management,process and task management, and disk management. Due to this speculativeexecution the programs can go through the kernel access protections allowingregular apps to read the information of kernel memory Sensitive information – like passwords, or protected files caneasily be accessed. Linux programmers are coming up with asolution which separates the kernels memory away from user processes this is now being called thekernel page table isolation. The problem with the bug fixes isthat this will result in a slowdown from about 5 to 30% depending upon the Intelprocessors while linux patches have been coming out in the past months awindows 10 fix is still not available. This has become a major concern as thesevulnerabilities have been around for about 20 years, allowing programmers to gain access to data all these years The long term fix for these problems wouldhappen at the processor level, and that is possible only when the nextgeneration of processors come out and are developed to eliminate this loopholein the first place. Bu it is quite likely that the next generation processorswill be slower then the ones that have been released recently.