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MIT provides alternative solution for Spectre-like CPU bugs

MIT's DAWG could easily be integrated in OS updates, and it is said to be less taxing on the overall system performance. (Source: Bit-Tech)
MIT's DAWG could easily be integrated in OS updates, and it is said to be less taxing on the overall system performance. (Source: Bit-Tech)
Intel may be implementing in-silicon solutions against Spectre and meltdown attacks, but not all threat variants can be identified this way. MIT's DAWG solution can detect all variants plus similar speculative attacks, and it can easily be integrated in operating systems without serious performance hits.
Bogdan Solca,
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CPU-related security flaws like Spectre and Meltdown are still looming around in the latest chips from Intel and AMD, despite considerable efforts to mitigate their threat via OS patches and in-silicon solutions. Most of the software-based “remedies” are known to decrease overall system performance to various degrees and do not even deal with all the discovered vulnerability variants. Researchers at MIT are now trying to help alleviate the situation with a more intuitive system called DAWG (Dynamically Allocated Way Guard).

DAWG is essentially isolating CPU memory caches so that instruction come on a need-to-know basis. All the separate caches ways can still access their own domain identities, but there are specific policies that detect cache “misses” that could result in a malicious attack. MIT researchers claim that DAWG can detect more attacks than Intel’s pre-Spectre Cache Allocation Technology (CAT) with minimal performance hits.

The MIT researchers are also claiming that DAWG is being constantly updated with more ways to detect speculative memory attacks, and it looks like the software can easily be integrated in existing operating systems. It all comes down to how open to adoption chip makers and OS-makers are.

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Bogdan Solca
Bogdan Solca - Senior Tech Writer - 1540 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
I first stepped into the wondrous IT&C world when I was around seven years old. I was instantly fascinated by computerized graphics, whether they were from games or 3D applications like 3D Max. I'm also an avid reader of science fiction, an astrophysics aficionado, and a crypto geek. I started writing PC-related articles for Softpedia and a few blogs back in 2006. I joined the Notebookcheck team in the summer of 2017 and am currently a senior tech writer mostly covering processor, GPU, and laptop news.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 10 > MIT provides alternative solution for Spectre-like CPU bugs
Bogdan Solca, 2018-10-19 (Update: 2018-10-19)