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Hyper-Threading Considered Harmful !!!
Contributed by: G3nu1n3, at 5/16/2005 08:07:00 AM.

Hyper-Threading, as currently implemented on Intel Pentium Extreme Edition, Pentium 4, Mobile Pentium 4, and Xeon processors, suffers from a serious security flaw. This flaw permits local information disclosure, including allowing an unprivileged user to steal an RSA private key being used on the same machine.

Administrators of multi-user systems are strongly advised to take action to disable Hyper-Threading immediately; single-user systems (i.e., desktop computers) are not affected.

However, Intel has responded to the report, according to Infoworld magazine, which has comments from representatives on the nature of the problem.

The Infoworld article said that both Intel, Microsoft and others were aware of the problem before the announcement by Colin Percival, at the BSDCan conference.

The problem affects processors which share cache memory and is likely to affect servers and not desktop systems.

Infoworld quotes an Intel representative as saying that the problem is common to other CPUs which share resources, but is unlikely to affect systems which haven't been under attack already, it appears. And Intel is working with both MS and Linux vendors on a future fix to the problem, according to this article.

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