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.

Popular Stories

Apple Intelligence General Feature

Apple Intelligence Features Not Coming to European Union at Launch Due to DMA

Friday June 21, 2024 9:44 am PDT by
Apple today said that European customers will not get access to the Apple Intelligence, iPhone Mirroring, and SharePlay Screen Sharing features that are coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac this September due to regulatory issues related to the Digital Markets Act. In a statement to Financial Times, Apple said that there will be a delay as it works to figure out how to make the new...
Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
amazon echo dot

Amazon Could Charge Up to $10/Month for Alexa

Friday June 21, 2024 2:55 pm PDT by
Apple competitor Amazon is working on a revamp of its Alexa assistant, and the new version could cost up $10 per month, according to a report from Reuters. The upcoming version of Alexa will support conversational generative AI, and Amazon is planning for two tiers of service. There will be a free tier and a second, premium tier that is priced at $5 at a minimum, with Amazon considering...
General Spotify Feature

Spotify Launches Cheaper $10.99/Month Premium Plan Without Audiobooks

Friday June 21, 2024 4:22 pm PDT by
Spotify today announced the launch of a new Basic paid plan that offers a small discount for dropping access to audiobooks. Priced at $10.99 per month, the Basic option includes all of the music benefits of Spotify like ad-free playback, but without added monthly audiobook listening time. The $11.99 standard Premium Individual plan that Spotify offers includes ad-free playback and 15 hours...
iPhone 16 Pro Max Generic Feature 2

5 Biggest Changes Rumored for iPhone 16 Pro Max

Wednesday June 19, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Given Apple's rumored plan to add an all-new high-end tier to its iPhone 17 series in 2025, this could be the year for Apple to bring its boldest "Pro Max" model to the table — the kind of iPhone 16 upgrade that stands tall above its siblings, both figuratively and literally. If you have been holding out for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, here are five of the biggest changes rumored to be coming...

Top Rated Comments

pier Avatar
85 months ago
What about El Capitan and Sierra?
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alex00100 Avatar
85 months ago
I'd still replace my battery just to be sure ;)
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RoobyRoobyRoo Avatar
85 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
85 months ago
Anyone know if this applies to security-patches for Sierra / El Capitan?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CrashX Avatar
85 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
85 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)