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Oracle Patches New Spectre, Meltdown Vulnerabilities

Oracle announced on Friday that it has started releasing software and microcode updates for products affected by the recently disclosed variants of the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities.

Intel, AMD, ARM, IBM, Microsoft and other major tech companies last month coordinated the disclosure of two new variants of the speculative execution attack methods known as Meltdown and Spectre.

One of them, dubbed Variant 4, relies on a side-channel vulnerability known as Speculative Store Bypass (SSB) and it has been assigned the identifier CVE-2018-3639. The second flaw, tracked as Variant 3a and CVE-2018-3640, is a Rogue System Register Read issue first documented by ARM back in January.

Variant 4 and Variant 3a have been rated “medium severity” and exploitation requires local access to the targeted system, Eric Maurice, director of security assurance at Oracle, noted in a blog post.

Maurice says Oracle has released software updates for the Oracle Linux distribution and Oracle VM virtualization products, along with the microcode updates provided by Intel. According to Oracle’s advisory, Variant 4 impacts Oracle Linux versions 6 and 7, and Oracle VM 3.4.

“Oracle will continue to release new microcode updates and firmware patches as production microcode becomes available from Intel,” Maurice said.

Oracle patched the initial Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in many of its products with the release of the January 2018 Critical Patch Update.

IBM has also released both operating system and firmware updates to patch Variant 4 in its Power Systems clients. Microsoft did implement some mitigations, but the company claims it has yet to identify any code patterns – in either its software or cloud services – that would allow Variant 4 attacks.

Several other side-channel attack methods have been identified since the initial disclosure of Spectre and Meltdown, including ones dubbed BranchScopeSgxPectre, and MeltdownPrime and SpectrePrime. The most recently discovered methodhas allowed researchers to gain access to the highly privileged System Management Mode (SMM) memory.

Related: Remotely Exploitable Vulnerability Could Impact 300,000 Oracle PoS Systems

Related: Oracle Patches 254 Flaws With April 2018 Update

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.