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Spectre and Meltdown may force long term changes in CPU design

Intel at least was relieved when Spectre emerged quickly to join Meltdown as a dual security threat because now the problem is shared with AMD and makers of ARM processors. Spectre afflicts just about the whole PC, tablet and smartphone industry as well as the COTS (Common Off the Shelf Hardware) used widely in virtualized infrastructures and cloud services. With no evidence that any of the vulnerabilities had been exploited, concerns switched more to the performance implications of the patches than the risk of major breaches. But these fears appear to have been overblown after initial stories of increases in CPU time of up to 30%. Amazon Web Services has insisted that impact on virtual machine performance of fixes administered…

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