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Microsoft rolls out Google's Retpoline Spectre mitigation

Microsoft has released new updates for Windows 10 users. The updates are the Retpoline mitigations against Spectre variant 2 attacks.

Reckoning Spectre attack – The Spectre attack 1st came into the sunshine in Jan 2018. it’s a side-channel attack that impacts most up-to-date processors like Intel, AMD, and ARM. The attack (CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715) may allow attackers to bypass memory isolation mechanisms and access information from different applications including password managers, internet browsers, documents, emails, instant messaging information and more.

Over the course of the last year, researchers detected multiple variants of the attacks. This included Spectre Variant one – CVE-2017-5753 and Variant 2 – CVE-2017-5715.

A fix for Windows 10 OS – Microsoft started rolling out new updates for Windows 10 users to enable Google’s Retpoline mitigations for Spectre variant 2 attacks. though the Retpoline mitigations were already included in Windows 10 since early 2018, they were disabled on production builds. the corporate is enabling Retpoline performance benefits only in Windows 10, version 1809 and Windows Server 2019, all versions.

Due to the complexity of the implementation and changes involved, we are only enabling Retpoline performance benefits for Windows 10, version 1809 and later releases,” he said. “Over the coming months, we will enable Retpoline as part of phased rollout via cloud configuration.”

When Google announced Retpoline last year, the search giant boasted about Retpoline’s “negligible impact on performance,” citing numbers of up to 1.5 per cent performance impact on Google Cloud servers

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