The company now says that while it thinks that GPZ Variant 2 is hard to exploit on its chips, it'll still work with its partners to release microcode updates and OS patches to mitigate the vulnerability.
Nvidia has been in touch to clarify that its GPU hardware is not at risk from the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities. The spooky nicknames just add to the drama of this entire event. Google's Project Zero (GPZ) divided Meltdown and Spectre into three different classes of attack, and Papermaster laid out AMD's planned response to each.
Vendors across the industry have been scrambling to issue proper fixes, but the rollout has been far from flawless.
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The real headache for Google turned out to be Spectre Variant 2. To fix it, the company created Retpoline, a software-only solution that regular users unfortunately can't benefit from. It allowed the company to protect its services without having to modify source codes or to switch off hardware components. "Furthermore, testing this feature, particularly when combined with optimizations such as software branch prediction hints, demonstrated that this protection came with nearly no performance loss".
"Because the chips can no longer be trusted to perform one of the critical jobs [for which] they were being relied upon, software is taking the strain and inevitably that means that things will take longer".
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".
With this announcement, however, that AMD stock run could be coming to an end. That's when Google engineers looked into "moonshot" solutions. The fact they shared the solution publicly could be a big win for the industry at large.