New Spectre-V2 security exploit targets Intel Alder Lake CPUs

The vulnerability allows an attacker to potentially uncover sensitive data hidden on 12th Gen Intel Core processors’ kernel memory, such as passwords

The Spectre logo imposed on an Alder Lake CPU

Intel’s Alder Lake processors are among the best gaming CPUs on the market, but a newly discovered security exploit could leave gaming PCs powered by 12th Gen Core chips vulnerable to attack. Unfortunately, a new mode of Spectre-V2 attack has come to haunt the company’s latest LGA 1700 silicon.

The exploit relies on ‘branch injection history’ (BHI) and was discovered by the Systems and Network Security Group at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUSec). Essentially, BHI allows a potential attacker to trick the CPU’s kernel into leaking sensitive data by abusing branch prediction, something that practically all processors use to speed up processes. If conducted successfully, sensitive data that would otherwise be hidden is revealed, such as passwords.

What makes Spectre-V2 attacks more dangerous than most other cyberattacks is that it targets a PC’s hardware directly, allowing it to be potentially applied across multiple operating systems, including Windows 10 and 11. According to WCCFTech, Intel plans to address the exploit with a patch, but the company didn’t provide any timeframe for when the fix will arrive.

Looking back at previous attempts to combat Spectre-V2 exploits, any future updates could result in your system’s performance potentially decreasing. For now, the best thing you can do to avoid falling victim to the vulnerability is to remain vigilant of the programs you download and websites you visit. Making sure you have the best antivirus with the latest security updates wouldn’t hurt either.

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If your rig uses an AMD Ryzen processor, you can breathe a sigh of relief for now. VUSec say that team red’s CPUs don’t seem to be affected by the exploit, but this could be subject to change.

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