Quick question about Spectre

Arbiter051

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I hope this is the right place, I am sorry if it isn't.

I have the latest updates and I am (hopefully) not affected by meltdown any longer to some degree.

With spectre though, I use a 4790 non k and i have a msi z97 sli krait edition MB and for me, msi isn't going to roll out updates for this MB sadly.

Is there a way to know if I have the spectre virus? Also if I ever do get it, can you remove it? Or do you have to change both you cpu and MB?

I ask these questions because I have seen no one talk about them yet and I have been wondering if maybe someone knows some information I have yet to find. I have been researching these vulnerabilities since the day they came to light, but have yet to find answers to my specific questions.

Thank you all.
 

takochako

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Spectre and Meltdown are not viruses, they are vulnerabilities. They are basically bugs that can be taken advantage of by viruses and malware to grab information while the processor is processing it. If you get a virus that takes advantage of Spectre, you will most likely be able to remove it with Malwarebytes or an antivirus. You would not have to replace your CPU and motherboard. It is VERY unlikely that malware taking advantage of Spectre or Meltdown will be able to reside in the CPU or motherboard. I'd say it's impossible, but chances are someday someone will find a way to infect CPUs and mobos.
 

Snipergod87

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Hope your antivirus can pick up the Spectre/meltdown variants, beyond that buying a new motherboard and CPU, I am in the same boat as you in regards to probably never seeing a BIOS update.
 

13thmonkey

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I hope MSI are just not rolling it out 'yet', there were issues with the patch that was applied and further deployment was held, this should restart soon. I'm hoping that's how it will play out as with a 3570k i'm also not seeing an update.
 

13thmonkey

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I've asked for a article highlighting which manufacturers are supporting older processors from a bios update standpoint as it will affect my buying decisions, which funnily enough i'm now being almost forced to make. Perhaps it will encourage movement on their part.
 

Arbiter051

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So I am correct in believing once the spectre virus has made it onto the system, you can never remove it?

I use avast free and some second opinion scanners but I am damn sure spectre could still get through :(

My biggest problem is, if it ever does get through, we would never know it I think which scares me and I am sure plenty of others.
 

ko888

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If ASUS isn't going to release an updated BIOS for my Z97-Pro Gamer motherboard I'm going to modify the BIOS myself once Intel releases a stable microcode update for the i7-4790K.
 

Arbiter051

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What do you mean exactly may I ask?

 

Arbiter051

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Sorry to double post but I am confused.

How would spectre actually get onto my computer? Would I have to do the usual and install a fake piece of software?

Or is visiting some bad site that has a hidden link inside a video, open to a site where malware is “just put” on my computer?

Or does the script open by the malicious website try to read my memory until I close my browser?

I’m confused as to how spectre actually gets onto ones pc and I am confused as how to help prevent from getting it onto my pc and is it true that once it gets on, you are not getting it off, short of replacing your hardware altogether?

 

13thmonkey

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Viruses and malware sit on the HDD as software, they run in memory as software. Spectre and Meltdown use features of the hardware to 'see' encrypted data that normal software should not be able to see, only certain controlled sections of the OS should be able to see them. The patches minimise the ability to be able to see this, mitigating the issues that the hardware allows to occur.

So once installed, it is software and can be uninstalled like any malware, perhaps with difficulty but it will be able to be done. There is no permanent damage to your hardware.
 

Arbiter051

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Ah I see, so if I understand this correctly, it’s just like your basic malware and can be removed as such. So even if you get a virus running the spectre code onto the system, a regular reformat of the hard drive would completely remove it (if it can’t down to it)

The problem is that these are hardware vulnerabilities which are harder to fix, if able to be fixed at all, that is the big problem and the way spectre runs is virtually undetectable. Do I have this correct?

I am not the smartest person ever so I hope this isn’t a dumb question and doesn’t upset anyone.

Everything has exploits and security problems, why is spectre such a big problem compared to normal malware?

I perfectly understand what spectre does. I don’t understand why everyone is making such a big deal when plenty of hard to fix malware exists already.


 

Arbiter051

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Ah alright. How would one get rid of the malware if that happened? Or is it even possible to get rid of it?

Would you even be able to tell that you have spectre on your computer? From everything I’ve read, it seems the answer is no.
 

ko888

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You can't because it doesn't reside on your system. You need to make sure that your OS and browser(s) have been patched to mitigate Meltdown and Spectre Variant 1.

Mitigation of Spectre Variant 2 requires a microcode update patch from the processor manufacturer. The motherboard manufacturer inserts the microcode patch into the BIOS so that you can reflash your motherboard's BIOS.
 

Arbiter051

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Damn, so any of us could have it right now and not even know it. Wow that is much scarier than I thought.

Alright well thank you all very much for the answers. You def made all of this much more clear.

I suppose if anyone else has anything to add please do :)!
 

Arbiter051

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ko888

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AMD claims that their next Ryzen 2 series processors won't be vulnerable to all Spectre variants. I would take that claim with a grain of salt since they also originally claimed that the current Ryzen series wasn't vulnerable to Spectre until they were proven wrong.
 

Arbiter051

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Yea I know what you mean. Guess we can just wait and see :/
 

takochako

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Spectre and Meltdown are not viruses, they are vulnerabilities. They are basically bugs that can be taken advantage of by viruses and malware to grab information while the processor is processing it. If you get a virus that takes advantage of Spectre, you will most likely be able to remove it with Malwarebytes or an antivirus. You would not have to replace your CPU and motherboard. It is VERY unlikely that malware taking advantage of Spectre or Meltdown will be able to reside in the CPU or motherboard. I'd say it's impossible, but chances are someday someone will find a way to infect CPUs and mobos.
 
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