Windows and Linux Get Options To Disable Intel TSX To Prevent Zombieload v2 Attacks

Both Microsoft and the Linux kernel teams have added ways to disable support for Intel Transactional Synchronization Extensions (TSX). From a report: TSX is the Intel technology that opens the company’s CPUs to attacks via the Zombieload v2 vulnerability. Zombieload v2 is the codename of a vulnerability that allows malware or a malicious threat actor to extract information processed inside a CPU, information to which they normally shouldn’t be able to access due to the security walls present inside modern-day CPUs. This new vulnerability was disclosed earlier this week. Intel said it would release microcode (CPU firmware) updates — available on the company’s Support & Downloads center. But, the reality of a real-world production environment is that performance matters. Past microcode updates for other attacks, such as Meltdown, Spectre, Foreshadow, Fallout, and Zombieload v1, have been known to introduce performance hits of up to 40%. Seeing that all the CPU attacks listed above are not only theoretical but also hard to pull off, some companies don’t see this performance hit as an option.