To protect customers from vulnerabilities referred to as “speculative execution side-channel attacks”, companies including Microsoft, Intel and others are working together to plan and deliver updates. Microsoft has released updates to several versions of Windows to mitigate these attacks. Intel has also released microcode updates for all of Intel products launched in the past five years. However Intel’s update only fixes Variant 1 issues. To fix the Variants 2 and 3, Intel is making changes to their hardware design. Intel has redesigned parts of the processor to increase the levels of protection through partitioning that will protect against both Variants 2 and 3.
Intel will deliver the updated hardware design beginning with their next-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors (code-named Cascade Lake) as well as 8th Generation Intel Core processors expected to ship in the second half of 2018. It will be interesting to see whether Intel’s new hardware design affects the performance of the processors or not. Because Intel’s software fixes for these issues led to 25% performance impact on certain server workloads. You can read more about it here.