Chip rivals Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Intel (INTC) are teaming up to take on shared competitor Nvidia (NVDA).
XAMD and Intel are working on a laptop-computer chip that combines an Intel processor and an AMD graphics unit, the companies announced Monday. The chip would be powerful enough to run high-end video games on a thin and lightweight notebook PC, they said.
AMD and Intel are longtime competitors in PC chips, but both have been pressured by competition from Nvidia in graphics chips and high-end processors.
AMD shares jumped 7.3% to close at 11.93 on the stock market today. Intel shares were up 1.4% to 46.70. Nvidia added 0.5% to finish the regular trading day at 209.63.
IBD'S TAKE:Nvidia is currently ranked No. 6 on the IBD 50 list of top-performing growth stocks. It is one of seven chip-industry players on the list.
The new AMD-Intel product will enable sleeker, thinner devices for high-performance computing applications, such as gaming. The product will be more than 50% smaller than standard discrete components on a motherboard, Intel Vice President Chris Walker said in a blog post.
The new product will be part of the 8th-generation Intel Core processor family. It brings together an Intel Core H-series processor, second-generation High Bandwidth Memory, and a graphics chip from AMD's Radeon Technologies Group — all in a single processor package, Walker said.
Intel expects the new product to launch in the first quarter of 2018.
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Google Project Zero,
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Disclosed today by Google Project Zero, the vulnerabilities potentially impact all major CPUs, including those from AMD, ARM, and Intel—threatening almost all PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, regardless of manufacturer or operating system.
These hardware vulnerabilities have been categorized into two attacks, named Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754) and Spectre (CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715), which could allow attackers to steal sensitive data which is currently processed on the computer.
Both attacks take advantage of a feature in chips known as "speculative execution," a technique used by most modern CPUs to optimize performance.
"In order to improve performance, many CPUs may choose to speculatively execute instructions based on assumptions that are considered likely to be true. During speculative execution, the processor is verifying these assumptions; if they are valid, then the execution continues. If they are invalid, then the execution is unwound, and the correct execution path can be started based on the actual conditions," Project Zero says.Therefore, it is possible for such speculative execution to have "side effects which are not restored when the CPU state is unwound and can lead to information disclosure," which can be accessed using side-channel attacks.
Meltdown AttackThe first issue, Meltdown (paper), allows attackers to read not only kernel memory but also the entire physical memory of the target machines, and therefore all secrets of other programs and the operating system.
“Meltdown is a related microarchitectural attack which exploits out-of-order execution in order to leak the target’s physical memory.”
Meltdown uses speculative execution to break the isolation between user applications and the operating system, allowing any application to access all system memory, including memory allocated for the kernel.
“Meltdown exploits a privilege escalation vulnerability specific to Intel processors, due to which speculatively executed instructions can bypass memory protection.”
Nearly all desktop, laptop, and cloud computers affected by Meltdown.
Spectre attack breaks the isolation between different applications, allowing the attacker-controlled program to trick error-free programs into leaking their secrets by forcing them into accessing arbitrary portions of its memory, which can then be read through a side channel.
Spectre attacks can be used to leak information from the kernel to user programs, as well as from virtualization hypervisors to guest systems.
“KAISER patch, which has been widely applied as a mitigation to the Meltdown attack, does not protect against Spectre.”
According to researchers, this vulnerability impacts almost every system, including desktops, laptops, cloud servers, as well as smartphones—powered by Intel, AMD, and ARM chips.
What You Should Do: Mitigations And Patches
Many vendors have security patches available for one or both of these attacks.
- Windows — Microsoft has issued an out-of-band patch update for Windows 10, while other versions of Windows will be patched on the traditional Patch Tuesday on January 9, 2018
- MacOS — Apple had already fixed most of these security holes in macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 last month, but MacOS 10.13.3 will enhance or complete these mitigations.
- Linux — Linux kernel developers have also released patches by implementing kernel page-table isolation (KPTI) to move the kernel into an entirely separate address space.
- Android — Google has released security patches for Pixel/Nexus users as part of the Android January security patch update. Other users have to wait for their device manufacturers to release a compatible security update.
Mitigations for Chrome Users
Since this exploit can be executed through the website, Chrome users can turn on Site Isolation feature on their devices to mitigate these flaws.
Here's how to turn Site Isolation on Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS or Android:
- Copy chrome://flags/#enable-site-per-process and paste it into the URL field at the top of your Chrome web browser, and then hit the Enter key.
- Look for Strict Site Isolation, then click the box labeled Enable.
- Once done, hit Relaunch Now to relaunch your Chrome browser.