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Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities

Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities

Updated on 2/21/2018

Google Project Zero team discovered a method to read privileged memory from user space by utilizing CPU data cache timing to leak information out of mis-speculated execution. Variants of this issue are known to affect many modern processors, including certain processors by Intel, AMD and ARM. For more details refer to this blogpost.

So far, there are three known variants of the issue:

Variants 1 & 2 are referred to as Spectre and Variant 3 as Meltdown.

Timesys has been monitoring vendor websites and open source mailing lists regarding affected CPUs and software mitigation strategies, and below are our findings:

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Secure Boot and Encrypted Data Storage

Secure Boot and Encrypted Data Storage

What is secure boot?

Secure boot ensures only authenticated software runs on the device and is achieved by verifying digital signatures of the software prior to executing that code. To achieve secure boot, processor/SoC support is required. In our experience, some of the more secure boot friendly processors with readily available documentation are NXP i.MX, Xilinx Zynq, and Atmel SAMA5 series. Some TI Sitara processors support secure boot, but might involve TI factory programming of signing keys and custom part numbers.

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Securing Embedded Linux Devices

Securing Embedded Linux Devices

Embedded devices have unique security needs ranging from IP protection, anti-cloning / anti-counterfeit capability, device software integrity, user data protection, securing network communication, device authentication and ability to run only trusted applications. A wide range of open source technologies are available that can help implement the aforementioned security requirements. However, it is not always apparent which mechanisms are best suited for a given use case, resulting in a steep learning curve. This blog series aims to give a high-level overview of the different methods to secure your product and help accelerate your trusted software deployment.

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Software / Firmware Update Design Considerations

Software / Firmware Update Design Considerations

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly led to the deployment of ubiquitous, unattended devices throughout our homes, offices, factories and public spaces. In this continuously expanding connected world of devices and IoT, the need to update/upgrade your product’s software/firmware is a certainty. There is no single software update approach that fits all, but there are key questions you should consider when designing your approach. They are: Why, When, What and How.

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