Technology

Intel Falls, AMD Rises on Alleged 'Kernel' Bug

Shares of Intel (INTC) are trading down by $1.20, or 2.6%, at $45.65, and shares of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) are up by 64 cents, or almost 6%,at. $11.62, apparently prompted by chatter of a bug in Intel's microprocessors that could make it possible for an attacker to take over a computer system.

A lengthy article by John Leyden and Chris Williams at The Register describes how patches have been designed for Linux, and how Microsoft (MSFT) is expected to shortly unveil its own patches for Windows.

Write Leyden and Williams, "Details of the vulnerability within Intel's silicon are under wraps : an embargo on the specifics is due to lift early this month, perhaps in time for Microsoft's Patch Tuesday next week."

The article doesn't cite sources at Intel or Microsoft, but does quote an email to a Linux mailing list from AMD, stating that the AMD x86 chips are "not subject to the types of attacks that the kernel page table isolation feature protects against."

The article discusses in some detail the ability of attackers to access memory addresses in the Intel CPU by dint of the fact the Cpu uses "speculative execution," which may reach into the privileged "kernel mode" addresses of memory from a program run in "user space." That could allow attacks such as " return-oriented programming," or ROP, which is sometimes foiled by "address-space layout randomization."

It's curious that the shares are responding today, given the security vulnerability appears to have been written about for some time: One blog post cited by the authors, by Anders Fogh, was penned back in July.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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