Is a retpoline-enabled kernel ‘enough’ to fully protect against Spectre Variant 2?

The Spectre attack exposed processors to memory disclosure attacks. Manipulation of indirect kernel calls may allow side channel retrieval of memory content (Branch Target Injection).

The Linux kernel was subsequently enhanced to mitigate this Variant II attack using the retpoline feature.

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Linux Kernel 4.14/4.15 and AMD’s SEV memory module

In my previous post I made brief mention of some new features in the 4.15 (well, technically, 4.14) Linux kernel, supporting encrypted volatile memory (RAM). Apart from a brief awareness of industry initiatives in this area, I hadn’t closely followed this development and so decided to take a look and write up some findings in this blog post.

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