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Nvidia, IBM release security patches to mitigate Meltdown and Spectre. Intel customers looking for substitutes 

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Nvidia is latest in the list to provide security updates to mitigate the impact of Meltdown and Spectre. Though Nvidia claimed that their core business is GPU computing, and Nvidia GPUs are safe from the malicious actors.

At Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 in Las Vegas, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang illustrated how the technology leaders are scrambling to find patches to the Spectre and Meltdown attacks. These attacks enable the hackers to steal private information of users from the CPUs having processors from Intel, AMD, and ARM.

“We believe our GPU hardware is immune to the reported security issue. As for our driver software, we are providing updates to help mitigate the CPU security issue,” Nvidia wrote in their security bulletin.

So, Nvidia has released updates for its software drivers that interact with vulnerable CPUs and operating systems.

The vulnerabilities take place in three variants- Variant 1, Variant 2, and Variant 3. Nvidia has released driver updates for Variant 1 and Variant 2. The company said none of its software is vulnerable to Variant 3.

Nvidia has provided security updates for these products- GeForce, Quadro, NVS Driver Software, Tesla Driver Software, and GRID Driver Software.

IBM had made no comments whether their systems were affected or not by these attacks. But Red Hat last week reported that IBM’s System Z, and POWER platforms are exploited by Spectre and Meltdown.

To that, IBM responded and released firmware patches for Power7+ and Power8 platforms. Patches for Power9 processors will be available by January 15, while AIX and IBM i operating system patches will be available by February 12.

The tech giants are issuing security updates to fix Spectre and Meltdown, but these security updates are reportedly impacting the performance of computers and servers.

Intel’s 8th Generation Core platforms with solid state storage are still seeing performance impact of around 6%. This seems to have upset the customers, and they are looking for substitutes to Intel chips.

The substitutes can be AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) which works with Intel for x86 processors. The companies like Backblaze, the data storage provider, have already indicated that building with AMD won’t be difficult.

Rubbing salt in Intel’s wound, the CEO of leading cloud computing provider Infinity Virtual, said in an interview that if Intel doesn’t make things right, his company will no longer purchase their products.

Also read: Intel creates new cybersecurity group addressing Meltdown and Spectre attacks

“If ARM provides enough computing power at lower cost or lower power than x86, it would be a strong incentive for us to switch,” said Gleb Budman, CEO, Backblaze. “If the fix for x86 results in a dramatically decreased level of performance, that might increasingly push in favor of switching to ARM.”

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