Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



Ubuntu Preps Patches for Meltdown, Spectre CPU Flaws

Ubuntu security updates planned for January 9 will patch the recently disclosed Meltdown and Spectre CPU vulnerabilties, Canonical has announced.

Ubuntu security updates planned for January 9 will patch the recently disclosed Meltdown and Spectre CPU vulnerabilties, Canonical has announced.

Impacting billions of devices around the world, Meltdown and Spectre are two new side-channel attacks targeting CPUs from Intel, AMD and ARM. Residing in the CPU architecture, the flaws impact Windows, MacOS, Linux, and many other operating systems.

The attacks abuse three different flaws and can be leveraged to bypass memory isolation and access sensitive data such as passwords, photos, documents, and emails.

Experts are warning of the risk of remote exploitation of Spectre vulnerabilities in targeted or mass attacks and tech companies such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, and others have already revealed plans to address the issues in their products.

On Thursday, Intel announced patches for its CPUs, saying it would address the bugs in 90% of the CPUs produced over the past five years.

Intel is said to have been aware of the vulnerabilities since April 2017, and other companies were informed on the matter a while ago as well, including Canonical, which has been working on fixes for the past couple of months.

According to the company, “essentially every operating system, hardware, and cloud vendor in the world” agreed to a coordinated release date of January 9, 2018, but the news on Meltdown and Spectre broke earlier. However, patches for Ubuntu won’t be available until the planned release date.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“By design, operating system updates would be available at the same time as the public disclosure of the security vulnerability.  While it happens rarely, this an industry standard best practice, which has broken down in this case,” Canonical explains.

Ubuntu 64-bit x86 (aka, amd64) should receive updated kernels by Jan 9, or sooner if possible. The updates will be released for Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful) — Linux 4.13 HWE; Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial) — Linux 4.4 (and 4.4 HWE); Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty) — Linux 3.13; and Ubuntu 12.04 ESM (Precise) — Linux 3.2 (an Ubuntu Advantage license is required for the 12.04 ESM kernel update).

In April, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic) will ship with a 4.15 kernel, which includes the KPTI patchset as integrated upstream, the company says.

“Ubuntu optimized kernels for the Amazon, Google, and Microsoft public clouds are also covered by these updates, as well as the rest of Canonical’s Certified Public Clouds including Oracle, OVH, Rackspace, IBM Cloud, Joyent, and Dimension Data,” Canonical explains.

The company also warns that a reboot will be required to activate the update, as the kernel fixes are not Livepatch-able. The update includes “hundreds of independent patches, touching hundreds of files and thousands of lines of code,” and the complexity of the patchset is not compatible with the Linux kernel Livepatch mechanism.

Related: Intel Patches CPUs Against Meltdown, Spectre Exploits

Related: Tech Giants Address Critical CPU Vulnerabilities


Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

Join security experts as they discuss ZTNA’s untapped potential to both reduce cyber risk and empower the business.


Join Microsoft and Finite State for a webinar that will introduce a new strategy for securing the software supply chain.


Expert Insights

Related Content


Less than a week after announcing that it would suspended service indefinitely due to a conflict with an (at the time) unnamed security researcher...

Data Breaches

OpenAI has confirmed a ChatGPT data breach on the same day a security firm reported seeing the use of a component affected by an...

Risk Management

The supply chain threat is directly linked to attack surface management, but the supply chain must be known and understood before it can be...

IoT Security

A group of seven security researchers have discovered numerous vulnerabilities in vehicles from 16 car makers, including bugs that allowed them to control car...


Patch Tuesday: Microsoft warns vulnerability (CVE-2023-23397) could lead to exploitation before an email is viewed in the Preview Pane.


A researcher at IOActive discovered that home security systems from SimpliSafe are plagued by a vulnerability that allows tech savvy burglars to remotely disable...


The latest Chrome update brings patches for eight vulnerabilities, including seven reported by external researchers.


Patch Tuesday: Microsoft calls attention to a series of zero-day remote code execution attacks hitting its Office productivity suite.