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Former CIA CTO Talks Meltdown and Spectre Cost, Federal Threats
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BrianN060
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BrianN060,
User Rank: Ninja
1/27/2018 | 3:06:13 PM
New (cyber)space race
Thank you Kelly - been waiting for something like this; and expect more to follow.  There have been many articles on the M/S issue; but most have been either to shift (or shirk), responsibility, or basically advertising their immunities, remedies or mitigation solutions.

I think Mr. Hunt is a little biased in his assessment of the nature of the threat (nation-state); but understandable given his experience.  Still, he doesn't let that blind him to other factors or concerns.

He's right to see the performance degradation has having a significant economic impact.  However, the degree of degradation foreseen might be skewed by the first round of mitigation strategy - which seem to all be to disable the performance boosting functionality.  Later patches might be true fixes: enabling the functionality, with safeguards to prevent exploitation.  Still later, the design and production of new chipsets could take the performance issue out of the equation - for those who upgrade!

That brings up another point: he likens the quest for cybersecurity to the Apollo program.  That objective was to "...put a man on the surface of the moon...".  All the patches and updates that have been applied so far, and all the upgraded hardware that will, do nothing to resolve the issue of those millions of devices that will not be patched or replaced - yet will still be "living" hosts for parasitic exploitation.  They aren't in major player datacenters, but they will remain active in the environment; and simply excluding them from playing with the rest, could cause more disruption than any performance impact we're likely to see. 

So, unlike putting a man on the moon; the challenge is more like putting every person in the world on a new planet. 


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