Intel Memory Access Design Flaw Already Addressed by Apple in macOS 10.13.2

A serious design flaw and security vulnerability discovered in Intel CPUs has reportedly already been partially addressed by Apple in the recent macOS 10.13.2 update, which was released to the public on December 6.

12 inch macbook macbook pro duo
According to developer Alex Ionescu, Apple introduced a fix in macOS 10.13.2, with additional tweaks set to be introduced in macOS 10.13.3, currently in beta testing. AppleInsider also says that it has heard from "multiple sources within Apple" that updates made in macOS 10.13.2 have mitigated "most" security concerns associated with the KPTI vulnerability.

Publicized yesterday, the design flaw in Intel chips allows normal user programs to see some of the contents of the protected kernel memory, potentially giving hackers and malicious programs access to sensitive information like passwords, login keys, and more.

Full details on the vulnerability continue to be unavailable and under embargo, so it's not yet clear just how serious it is, but fixing it involves isolating the kernel's memory from user processes using Kernel Page Table Isolation at the OS level. Implementing Kernel Page Table Isolation could cause a performance hit on some machines.

According to The Register, which first shared details on the vulnerability, Windows and Linux machines will see a 5 to 30 percent slowdown once a fix is in place. It appears Macs may not be hit as heavily, as no noticeable performance slowdowns have been reported since the launch of macOS 10.13.2.

Ionescu also says that performance drop on a system with PCID (Process-Context Identifiers), available on most modern Macs, is "minimal," so most users may not see an impact on day-to-day Mac usage.

Top Rated Comments

pier Avatar
64 months ago
What about El Capitan and Sierra?
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alex00100 Avatar
64 months ago
I'd still replace my battery just to be sure ;)
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RoobyRoobyRoo Avatar
64 months ago
Erm...no, 10.13.2 has been out for quite a bit, almost a month ago.

Might have even been in earlier beta's as well.
So quick that it happened in the past! I like this new time-bending Apple.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SecuritySteve Avatar
64 months ago
Anyone know if this applies to security-patches for Sierra / El Capitan?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CrashX Avatar
64 months ago
For anyone interested, using the Potts-Kant benchmarks on the latest releases of both concurrent versions of Mac OS -

We're running benchmark processes concurrently with PCID disabled, employing supplementary reservoir matching sequences throughout our lab here at Duke.

The testing has just begun - so I'll be posting the results here in about an hour, for anyone interested in how their machines might be affected.

Students have been instructed to take the machines through a variety of real world tests -

So we'll be posting that, as well as the conclusive results provided by our benchmark studies - to hopefully help clear the air and provide a more balanced issuance of the possible affections of data-protected kernel-modeling architecture implications.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
belvdr Avatar
64 months ago
What do we make of this really? I think someone should do a comparative test on handbrake or anything that solely uses CPU and only then we can tell the difference between 10.13.2 and any previous versions of macOS
This has nothing to do with CPU utilization. Rather, you will see a performance penalty when an applications makes system calls, such as to files or network access. Essentially it occurs when ring 3 needs to access something at the more privileged ring 0.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Emergency SOS via Satellite iPhone YT

Apple's iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via Satellite Feature Saves Stranded Man in Alaska

Thursday December 1, 2022 4:37 pm PST by
With the launch of iOS 16.1, Apple rolled out a Emergency SOS via Satellite, which is designed to allow iPhone 14 owners to contact emergency services using satellite connectivity when no cellular or WiFi connection is available. The feature was put to the test in Alaska today, when a man became stranded in a rural area. In the early hours of the morning on December 1, Alaska State Troopers ...
iPhone Measure Height

Newer iPhones Allow You to Measure Someone's Height Instantly — Here's How

Saturday December 3, 2022 10:23 am PST by
iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, and iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models feature a LiDAR Scanner next to the rear camera that can be used to measure a person's height instantly in Apple's preinstalled Measure app. To measure a person's height, simply open the Measure app, point your iPhone at the person you want to measure, and make sure they are visible on the screen from...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

iOS 16.2 for iPhone Launching This Month With These 8 New Features

Thursday December 1, 2022 8:44 am PST by
Apple plans to publicly release iOS 16.2 for the iPhone in mid-December, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The update remains in beta testing for now, with at least eight new features and changes already uncovered so far. iOS 16.2 introduces a number of new features, including Apple's new whiteboard app Freeform, two new Lock Screen widgets for Sleep and Medications, the ability to hide...
iOS 16

When Will iOS 16.2 Be Released?

Friday December 2, 2022 2:13 pm PST by
Apple in late October began testing iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 updates, providing betas to both developers and public beta testers. As of now, we've had four total betas, with the fourth beta having been released earlier this week. iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 are expected before the end of the year, and we thought we'd try to narrow down the launch timeline. With only four betas released since...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

Major RAM Upgrade Coming to Next-Generation MacBook Pro

Friday December 2, 2022 2:03 am PST by
The next-generation MacBook Pro models could feature faster RAM, according to a recent report from a reliable source. MacRumors Forums member "Amethyst," who accurately revealed details about the Mac Studio and Studio Display before those products were announced, recently provided information about Apple's upcoming 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. The new machines are expected to feature...
iPad 10 Battery Pull Tabs

iPad 10 Teardown Reveals Why Device Isn't Compatible With Apple Pencil 2

Thursday December 1, 2022 10:48 am PST by
Do-it-yourself repair website iFixit today shared a video teardown of Apple's new 10th-generation iPad, providing a closer look inside the tablet and revealing why the device lacks support for the second-generation Apple Pencil. The teardown reveals the internal layout of the iPad, including its two-cell 7,606 mAh battery, logic board with the A14 Bionic chip, and more. As suspected, the...
android apple fix rcs

Google Again Criticizes Apple for Not Adopting RCS for Messages App: 'Their Texting is Stuck in the 1990s'

Friday December 2, 2022 10:54 am PST by
Google is continuing on with its attempt to convince Apple to adopt the RCS messaging standard, publishing a new "it's time for RCS" blog post. Promoted heavily by Google, RCS or Rich Communication Services is a messaging standard that is designed to replace the current SMS messaging standard. It provides support for higher resolution photos and videos, audio messages, and bigger file sizes, ...
ios 16 2 beta notifiation center

PSA: Older Notifications No Longer Hidden in Notification Center in iOS 16.2 Beta 4

Friday December 2, 2022 5:23 am PST by
In a small but significant change to the way the Notification Center works in the latest iOS 16.2 beta, older notifications are now shown by default without having to swipe up. In the current release as well as earlier versions of iOS 16, users do not automatically see older notifications in the Notification Center like they did in iOS 15, and instead must manually swipe up from the middle...
lastpass

LastPass Hacked for Second Time This Year

Friday December 2, 2022 4:04 am PST by
Password management app LastPass says it is investigating a security incident after an "unauthorized party" compromised its systems on Wednesday and gained access to some customer information. The information was stored in a third-party cloud service shared by LastPass and parent company GoTo, said LastPass CEO Karim Toubba in a blog post. Toubba said the hackers used information stolen from ...
Apple Card Savings

Apple Card Customer Agreement Updated for 'Upcoming' Savings Account Feature

Friday December 2, 2022 11:43 am PST by
Goldman Sachs this week updated its Apple Card customer agreement to reflect the credit card's upcoming Daily Cash savings account feature, which was expected to launch with iOS 16.1 but appears to have been delayed. "To enable new ways to use Daily Cash like the upcoming Savings account feature, we are updating the Daily Cash Program section of your Apple Card Customer Agreement," reads an...