Security Software

Microarchitectural Data Sampling

First identified by Intel’s internal researchers and partners, and independently reported to Intel by external researchers, Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) is a sub-class of previously disclosed speculative execution side channel vulnerabilities and is comprised of four related techniques. Under certain conditions, MDS techniques may allow a program to read data that it would otherwise not be able to see. MDS techniques are based on a sampling of data leaked from small structures within the CPU using a locally executed speculative execution side channel. Practical exploitation of MDS is a very complex undertaking. MDS does not, by itself, provide an attacker with a way to choose the data that is leaked.

MDS is addressed in hardware starting with select 8th and 9th Generation Intel® Core™ processors, as well as the 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processor Family. We expect all future Intel® processors include hardware mitigations addressing these vulnerabilities.

Microarchitectural Data Sampling

Bryan Jorgensen from Intel’s Product Assurance and Security Group discusses a new group of side channel vulnerabilities called Microarchitectural Data Sampling. Working together with the industry, Intel released new microcode updates along with other updates from system, operating system and virtualization vendors to help protect systems.

To find out more about steps that developers can take to help protect their systems, see the software guidance for MDS here and the related Deep Dive with more details here.

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