In the light of recent news about grave processor security issues, Meltdown and Spectre, we would like to assure customers and partners that Codasip processors are not subject to these issues.
Meltdown and Spectre take advantage of a flaw in so-called speculative execution, a feature that allows for faster execution of code. Meltdown exploits the fact that low-privilege code and high-privilege memory are not separated properly during speculative execution, which means that untrusted processes can potentially access kernel memory. Spectre goes a different way with similar results: A potential attack makes the processor execute a specific speculative scenario, making it possible to read the memory of the executed program.
Both issues effectively mean that privilege can be bypassed and virtually any part of memory can leak, including the most restricted.
The described scenarios have been successfully tested by researchers who currently confirm Meltdown on Intel processors, while Spectre reportedly applies to all major vendors including Arm and AMD.
Codasip processors are safe from both issues. “We do not currently employ out-of-order execution in our cores, or speculative loads in caches,” confirms Michal Kajan, Codasip’s VP of IP. What is more, no other RISC-V processors seem to be affected, either. Though not caused by ISA design, flaws like Meltdown and Spectre are slower and more difficult to fix on closed architectures, as research and resources are shared reluctantly – a key difference from open ISAs such as RISC-V. Codasip’s CTOs are well aware of this advantage: “We will observe future recommendations for architectures design,” concludes Michal Kajan, positive that Codasip RISC-V processors will be able to benefit from the best security practices in industry.