Meltdown and Spectre bugs in simple words.

Meltdown and Spectre bugs in simple words.

All modern processors have very important feature called “Speculative Execution” where CPU tries to predict all possible operations that might be required to be executed next and actually executing those without knowing for sure which one will be the next.

Those guesses are called Speculative Branches. By the time when next operation is determined CPU already executed it as part of “Speculative Execution” but it also executed all other branches that no longer needed. Not only it executed unneeded operations it also kept the data for those branches. Data that was processed during unneeded Speculative Execution branches remains accessible for some time before it is completely discarded.

But data protection is only enforced for main execution branch, but not for Speculative Execution branches making it possible to access sensitive data that normally should not be accessible. Good intentions causes harm..

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