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SubjectRe: Hyper-Threading Vulnerability
On Fri, 13 May 2005, Alan Cox wrote:

> > This is not a kernel problem, but a user space problem. The fix
> > is to change the user space crypto code to need the same number of cache line
> > accesses on all keys.
> You actually also need to hit the same cache line sequence on all keys
> if you take a bit more care about it.
> > Disabling HT for this would the totally wrong approach, like throwing
> > out the baby with the bath water.
> HT for most users is pretty irrelevant, its a neat idea but the
> benchmarks don't suggest its too big a hit

This is one of those things which can give any result depending on the
measurement. For kernel compiles I might see a 5-30% reduction in clock
time, for threaded applications like web/mail/news not much, and for
applications which communicate via shared memory up to 50% because some
blocking system calls can be avoided and cache impact is lower.

In general I have to agree with the "too big," but I haven't seen any
indication that the hole can be exploited without being able to run a
custom application on the machine, so for single users machines and
servers the risk level seems low.

bill davidsen <>
CTO, TMR Associates, Inc
Doing interesting things with little computers since 1979.

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