Turing data science class: Systems and security

Speaker: Jon Crowcroft (Turing Fellow, University of Cambridge) and Mark Handley (UCL)

Title: The Spectre and Meltdown Vulnerabilities and Mitigations

Date: 22 January 2018

Time: 13:30-15:30

Registration: Online registration will be compulsory.

The Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in almost all modern CPUs have received a great deal of publicity in the last week. Operating systems and hypervisors need significant changes to how memory management is performed, CPU firmware needs updating, compilers are being modified to avoid risky instruction sequences, and browsers are being patched to prevent scripts having access to accurate time. All this because of how speculative execution is handled in modern pipelined superscalar CPUs, and how side-channel attacks reveal information about execution that the CPU tries to pretend did not happen. Mark Handley will explain what modern CPUs actually do to go fast, discuss how this leads to the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, and summarize the mitigations that are being put in place.

This is an introductory level class.