Google provides details on how it protected services like Gmail from Spectre


We have received reports from a few customers of higher system reboots after applying firmware updates.

Every chip has a protected area which prevents one application from seeing what another is doing.

That concern about performance loss is also important, especially since companies like Microsoft and Intel have specifically warned users about Meltdown and Spectre patches potentially slowing down systems and devices.

"Following announcements of the Google Project Zero security exploits last week, Intel has continued to work closely with our partners with the shared goal of restoring confidence in the security of our customers' data as quickly as possible". But for now, the fix is only optional. The technique has a "negligible impact on performance", according to Google, and allows the company to defend against Variant 2 of Spectre without switching off CPU components or modifying many layers of software.

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The fallout from Meltdown and Spectre continues to roil the computer industry.

"Things may change, however, if you're doing something more intensive with your computer - like performing a large number of complex calculations, or processing large amounts of data".

Vendors across the industry have been scrambling to issue proper fixes, but the rollout has been far from ideal.

Despite the rollout issues, the tech industry is still urging customers to patch their systems.

So far, Meltdown and Spectre haven't been exploited in any real-world attacks that we know of.

For some time, Google says "it appeared that disabling the vulnerable CPU features would be the only option for protecting all our workloads against Variant 2". "We expect this issue to be corrected shortly and Microsoft should resume updates for these older processors by next week".

Not only are users who applied these updates now facing notable performance degradation of their CPUs, some customers are seeing constant reboots in the wake of Intel's solution to the problem, something Intel addressed in its blog post. For customers anxious about the fixes disrupting their machines, Intel said it will provide more updates to the public about the patching process, including "performance data".