Microsoft: Xbox Consoles Are Immune To The Specter and Meltdown Bugs of Intel and AMD CPUs

The serious bugs of Specter and Meltdown discovered recently in processors of AMD and Intel do not affect in any way the family consoles of Xbox such as Xbox One/One S and Xbox One X. The confirmation comes directly from Mike Ybarra of Microsoft.

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347d ago Replies(3)
GottaBjimmyb347d ago (Edited 347d ago )

Hmm, doesn't make sense considering specter pulls kernal level data direct from the CPU. I suspect mike ybarra is wrong, or maybe he just was referring to meltdowb, which would be the case anyway as that only effects intel CPUs.

Princess_Pilfer347d ago

AMD processors in general are immune to meltdown, at least as far as Google knows. They coulnd't get in that way. It's only specter that could affect AMD systems, and preventing it is a simple OS update. I'd sotra expect the Xbox to be either immune to both, or immune to meldown and easily patched to be immune to specter just based on the fact that it's AMD hardware, before even getting into architectural differences

GottaBjimmyb347d ago (Edited 347d ago )

I suppose assuming Java is the only implementation (it is not, that is just what other browsers are doing to resolve this short term bandaid basically) It also helps that the xbox one has a curated software library.

The issue is, the vulnerability is not limited to java or manual downloads, it could accidentally be installed onto a flash drive, (unlikely, but possible) transmitted via Windows SMB, or other network sharing formats, making it a much bigger concern in conglomeration with a router that has been infected (much more common that you would expect) these things are not addressed in current windows patches, even the ones specifically for meltdown and spectre. However, what is being ignored even further is the reality that an infect phone or tablet are far more likely and can easily effect other devices on the network in quite a few easy ways, especially if you have certain interfacing software between your devices. Frankly, I don't think there is or will be a fix for spectre software-wise generally speaking, just being generally attentive.

Ulf347d ago (Edited 347d ago )

Keep in mind that the CPUs in all the recent consoles are evolved versions of the AMD Steamroller/Piledriver/Bulldoz er architecture. I doubt they are even capable of speculative execution, which is probably why they are immune to Meltdown.

Avoiding Specter would just be an OS patch. Heck, the console OS may have already been safe.

OpenGL347d ago

Actually Jaguar is more closely related to Athlon / Athlon II / Phenom.

OoglyBoogly347d ago

Due more to the OS and software than the actual hardware. I'm sure the physical CPU's themselves are still vulnerable.

OpenGL347d ago

This, although it might be possible to actually take advantage of it on your own Xbox One using the developer mode and creating your own Xbox One app. That won't have any purpose as a hack / vulnerability for regular users though.

GottaBjimmyb346d ago (Edited 346d ago )

This is my point, I think obviously they are fully immune to meltdown due to hardware architecture, though I find it hard to believe they can fully discount spectre. I do think it is much more secured than it would be on a standard OS, but I can think of multiple ways it could still be implemented, though I HIGHLY doubt anyone would waste the time to target individual machines with spectre, especially individual machines that are more secure than a standard windows PC that has far more information potentially accessible.

My only point is, I think the title of this article is wrong, specifically the word "immune," especially since even ybarra himself did not use that phrasing, because, it just isn't true.

I think a far more accurate title would be to quote the tweet itself, not make a false conclusion and make your own title. Further, I would actually even go further and suggest that Xbox actually may be the most vunerable of the 3 consoles due to certain features it has and how they are implemented, though to be clear, they are all FAR more secure than a standard PC and frankly, I would say the risk is almost zero, for a well-informed user, even on a personal/individual windows PC.

rainslacker346d ago (Edited 346d ago )

Generally a bug which is started by software would only be executed if said software actually existed on the system. Since code that affects the hardware on the system has to be signed, it's highly unlikely that you'd ever see a bug like this come to the console since it'd be found during the "signing" process.

Potentially, it could be initiated by a web browser intrusion, however, given the nature of the hypervisor implementation of OS related tasks on the system, it's highly unlikely it would crash the hardware, although it could potentially cause the system to crash as it shuts down to prevent damage. However, given the deeper software layer protection against the hypervisor, the application trying to run the malicious code would likely just be shut down first.

I don't know the specific way that these bugs are sent to hardware, so can't say for sure, but I'd imagine that if the bug itself executes on standard hardware calls to the x86 processors from either CPU maker, then it's not immune. However, I can say that the symptoms are likely never to show up, because infection would never happen.

I guess if the hardware itself is immune, or if it's just the nature of the OS and software layer that make it immune are pointless to actually consider, as the end result is that people are unlikely to have to face the bug on their systems. It can make for an interesting and informative technical discussion though.

jznrpg347d ago Show
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