Recent News - Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities discovered


2018-01-08

On January 4, 2018, at 7:45 AM CET, ESET released Antivirus and antispyware scanner module 1533.3 for all consumer and business users. This update marks the system as compatible to download important security patches by Microsoft. At the time of writing, ESET is one of only three AV vendors to support the patches, with others set to receive the updates starting tomorrow.

The Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, published on January 3, 2018, are caused by side-effects of optimization techniques designed to increase the performance of modern processors.

These techniques are called "out-of-order" and "speculative" execution. They allow the processor to make better use of time it would have to spend waiting unnecessarily before executing the next instruction to pre-compute further results which may or may not be used in the execution flow. 

These pre-computed results, if not used, are discarded – but, as researchers have shown, there are side-effects left by such precomputation which are not disposed of thoroughly enough and can sometimes be leaked to the potential attacker. 

As stated by the authors of the papers describing the vulnerabilities, there are theoretical ways antivirus could detect the problem. However, detection would have an extremely negative impact on the device’s performance and significantly influence user experience; it would be a less effective approach than prevention. Therefore, we recommend that ESET users keep track of any related patches for their systems and apply them as soon as possible. 

More details are in the published technical support advisories: 

Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities discovered - https://support.eset.com/ca6643/

ESET can stop malware that uses Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities - https://support.eset.com/alert6644/

Our colleagues at ESET North America prepared additional asset based on the advisories – blogpost which along the advisory details contains further tips, you can find it here: https://www.eset.com/us/about/newsroom/corporate-blog-list/corporate-blog/meltdown-spectre-how-to-protect-yourself-from-these-cpu-security-flaws/ 

 


 

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About ESET

Founded in 1992, ESET is a global provider of security software for enterprises and consumers. ESET’s award-winning, antivirus software system, NOD32, provides real-time protection from known and unknown viruses, spyware, rootkits and other malware. ESET NOD32 offers the smallest, fastest and most advanced protection available, with more Virus Bulletin 100 Awards than any other antivirus product. ESET was named to Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 five years running, and has an extensive partner network, including corporations like Canon, Dell and Microsoft. ESET has offices in Bratislava, SK; Bristol, U.K.; Buenos Aires, AR; Prague, CZ; San Diego, USA; and is represented worldwide in more than 100 countries.

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