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Intel Says to Stop Applying Problematic Spectre, Meltdown Patch
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Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
1/24/2018 | 9:48:30 PM
Re: What's the score?
@Brian: Well, sure, technically, it is the awareness of an issue that presents a problem more directly than the problem itself. Scrodinger's Vulnerability, I suppose.

But, of course, for all anyone knows, the vulnerability has already been exploited in the wild (and, if so, very possibly even by nation-state actors, who would probably be the best poised to have known about the vulnerability and have done so -- especially without you finding out about it).

Sure, good coordination has to go into vulnerabilty announcements and patch processes, but because this particular vulnerability is so disastrous and severe, it would be hard for much of the population to not take a Chicken Little approach here. It's a pretty bad vulnerability.
BrianN060
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BrianN060,
User Rank: Ninja
1/24/2018 | 12:38:29 AM
Re: What's the score?
@Joe: "The chaos stems more from the fact of the existence of the vulnerability." From the existence, or the manner of itheir being made public?  The vulnerabilities (or the design decisions which would become vulnerabilities once cyber-technologies and use patterns would make them such), existed for decades.  Not being an insider, I only became aware of the issue with the media disclosure (and via sites like DR).  That's when the chaos began.

I wasn't talking about balancing likelihood against severity (akin to gambling, in my opinion), but the realized cost of the uncoordinated efforts at mitigation, against as yet unobserved exploitation.  It didn't have to play out like this. 

To your other points: agreed - the bungled and disjointed patches and updates are unfortunate, for the reasons you mentioned. 

Your comments @Ryan: also agreed - a holistic approach is required; especially as attacks become more sophisticated and use multiple vectors. 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
1/23/2018 | 11:10:08 PM
Patches beget patches
This is grossly unfortunate because the very reason many people are wary of updates that are non-security or partial-security related is because of severe bugs that are usually hiding in a rushed rollout (q.v. iOS). To see this in the strictly security patch context where the severity is so high is particularly disheartening and may cause people to take the issue less seriously, I wonder.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
1/23/2018 | 11:08:16 PM
Re: What's the score?
@Ryan: Yeah, but the thing is that many attacks really are "insider attacks" because even so many "outsider" attacks require compromising "insider" credentials. So it's a matter of treating this holistically and in depth as opposed to an "M&M security" approach (hard on the outside, soft in the middle).
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
1/23/2018 | 11:06:31 PM
Re: What's the score?
@Brian: The chaos stems more from the fact of the existence of the vulnerability. I'm not really sure that the question is well-founded given that the flaw is desperately serious.

Sure, risk management is all about assessing likelihood just as well as severity, but in this case severity is so high that it overshadows any probability rating that any accepted threat model could slap on it.
RyanSepe
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RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
1/23/2018 | 8:20:21 AM
Re: What's the score?
That's a good question that I would be interested in as well. Although this vulnerability affects a majority of devices the greatest risk, outside of affected DMZ devices, are users already inside of your network. Essentially it allows for persistent listeners to take advantage of an easy exploit when it may have taken them a while to figure out how to traverse the network.
BrianN060
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BrianN060,
User Rank: Ninja
1/23/2018 | 1:10:27 AM
What's the score?
The DR staff are better informed than I am; but has any of the cost and chaos of Meltdown/Spectre mitigation yet been shown to have thwarted a single attempted explotation?  Put another way, have those that haven't bothered to lift a finger to prevent M/S exploitation paid the price for their indifference?  One more question: how would you rate the handling of the M/S issue, from first discovery of the vulnerabilities, to the press leaks, public announcement, vendor reaction and community response - so far?


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