It’s certainly been an interesting week. The computing world went a little mad with a hitherto unknown technology security firm accusing AMD of having severe hardware vulnerabilities. Intel confirmed that new products would plug some holes of the Spectre and Meltdown variety. Security concerns arose at Apple with stuff on its app store, and the passing of a world renowned and much loved physicist. Without further ado, here is the latest edition of the WTT Weekend News.
WTT Weekend News – AMD Ryzen security concerns update
Following on from the surprise revelation that a security company had found 13 security flaws in AMD processors, the technology journalism world has spent a bit more time sifting through the facts. What they’ve found is interesting to say the least. CTS Labs is the company that alleges these flaws. But in an interview with AnandTech’s Ian Cutress and RealWorldTech’s David Kanter, the company left more questions than answers, and made themselves look even more dodgy than they did before. The various issues are discussed in that interview, and Mr Cutress and Kanter come to some conclusions.
The first is that one of the supposed vulnerabilities – which affects AMD’s motherboard chipset due to a third party component – would actually also affect Intel motherboards. The third part (ASMedia) chips with these flaws have apparently been in use across Intel products for at least six years. Interesting that. The implications could be huge if the issues are widespread.
We are still awaiting an official response from AMD in relation to these allegations. No doubt this will come in the fullness of time.
WTT Weekend News – Intel well on the way to patching up Spectre and Meltdown
Meanwhile, Intel has confirmed that it’s well on the way to a permanent solution to the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. Intel has said that future products will be hardware protected against the Spectre 2 and Meltdown flaws. Incoming 8th generation products will be fixed, though it’s unclear whether this includes newer Coffee Lake stuff or if its the upcoming high end stuff.
Unfortunately, Spectre 1 is still a software litigation, and so Intel obviously needs a bit more time to figure out a permanent solution.
Intel’s also released micro-code fixes for Meltdown and Spectre 2 all the way back to 2nd generation Core products, with solutions older products coming too.
WTT Weekend News – New phone leaks
No matter what top of the line smartphone one currently has, we all tend to want “the next big thing”. Sad to say, but this is pretty true. This week, there has been three leaks on upcoming products; Samsung Galaxy Note 9, a new iPhone SE Notchy Edition, and finally, LG might finally release a G7 flagship too.
The Note 9 should be a more business focused version of the S9 twins, as usual. Look for the price of this thing to challenge a decent laptop or two-in-one. As for the iPhone SE 2 (or whatever it will be called), Apple should be gathering the mid-range market, with a commensurate price. As for the LG, who knows whether it’ll be any good?
WTT Weekend News – Vale, Professor Stephen Hawking (1942 – 2018)
WTT is a technology site, but we also celebrate great science. Professor Stephen Hawking was a modern giant of great science. He made us think, popularised science communication and had a sharp sense of humour. His most famous book, A Brief History of Time, was one of the first to try and communicate with and give the general public understanding on complex scientific matters. I read this when I was 9, and it pushed me to be even more fascinated with the universe at large.
Of course, part of his fame was his motor neurone disease, with which he was diagnosed at the age of 21. He was confined to a wheelchair for most of his life and communicated with a computer voice. His iconic appearances in popular media helped with his public profile; shows like Star Trek, The Simpsons and Futurama.
He was also most famous for his research into black holes, the scariest things in the universe. He discovered that black holes leak energy (slowly, like over trillions of years slowly), with that radiation named after him.
So Professor Hawking, where ever you are, whether you’re exploring black holes in the universe, or making everybody laugh in an alternate dimension, we want to thank you for your immense contribution to our understanding of the universe.