Birches NEWS No. 16

Dance around vulnerabilities led to the rise of NVIDIA, the Japanese and Soviet patents, the doctor shoved the robot and the Lumia rebirth. The most interesting.

Birches NEWS No. 16

  1. Discussing the hype of the last month around Intel, AMD and ARM
  2. The Japanese develop the technologies of the USSR
  3. Boston researchers shoved a robot into an animal and stretched its gut, a human is next
  4. Desktop Windows 10 for ARM chips launched on Lumia 1520

Discussing the hype of the last month around Intel, AMD and ARM

The potential vulnerabilities for ARM, AMD and Intel processors have been dubbed Specter and Meltdown. We will describe below how their appearance influenced the manufacturing companies, but first we will take a closer look at them. These are vulnerabilities that have not yet received a full-fledged and independent software 'container' capable of replicating itself on an infected computer and sending its disputes further across the network. What are these vulnerabilities based on?

The Specter vulnerability is caused by the peculiarities of the hardware acceleration of computations in the form of branch prediction during instruction execution. With this prediction, the side channel has access to read the cache memory. The vulnerability is a hardware vulnerability, it cannot be fixed by software, the only chance is to disable this feature in the processor, which will negatively affect its performance.

And if for a simple user (who does not store confidential information on a network PC) there is no particular threat, then in the case of financial and commercial structures we are talking about creating a huge hole through which an attacker can display all information, databases, portfolios of bank accounts, etc. ..

The Meltdown vulnerability lies in the central processor gaining access to the operating system kernel memory when executing certain specific instructions. At the moment, they are talking about full access to the system for an outside local user, there is no data about the implementation of the scheme through remote access. That is, a threat is a certain person who must enter the office, insert a USB flash drive into the PC and then take it out of the protected area.

Birches NEWS No. 16

The clients of the British company ARM Holdings Plc are Apple, Qualcomm, MediaTek and many others. According to the company itself, the only real threat is the Specter vulnerability, and in the case of Meltdown, the threat is purely theoretical. This could potentially affect only 5% of the more than 120 billion chips released by ARM partners since 1991. Most of the vulnerable chips are no longer used. However, the availability of Specter will be taken into account when developing new ARM processors, and end users of devices can always contact their manufacturers and request a security software update.

Birches NEWS No. 16

The company announced that its processors are completely invulnerable to Meltdown. In the case of Specter, we are also not talking about a global threat, rather about disrupting the normal operation of the system, but not stealing information. Nevertheless, with the companies Microsoft and Linux we are constantly working together to remove even potential threats.

Birches NEWS No. 16

Processors Intel dominate personal computers and industry servers. According to some companies, the first hacks have already occurred, and using both vulnerabilities. And the first lawsuits against the company from ordinary consumers have already appeared, which impute Intel withholding information about these threats and slowing down the computer after receiving an update with security patches.

Cloud computing clients suffered the most damage. Released security patches led to constant reboots of computers (in some cases), which was the reason for the appeal of representatives Intel with a request not to update temporarily Windows.

What was it?

If you look at the whole situation as a whole, then in the bottom line we have several facts:

  • All chip manufacturers were discredited in the summer of 2017.
  • Starting in the 90s of the last century, the industry began to develop along the wrong path, using potentially dangerous technologies to accelerate settlements, which became the main threat in 2017-2018.
  • The most affected was the company Intel, whose lawyers have already begun to fight off claims from companies and individuals.
  • It may be that very soon owners of gaming computers based on Intel Core will receive an update that will turn their racing computers into brooding seals.
  • ARM and AMD suffered the least.
  • NVIDIA offers servers on its own processor base, which have proven to be completely immune to vulnerabilities. As a result, the growth in the value of Nvidia shares over the past month (since the beginning of the hype) from 191.56 to 222.98 USD per share at the moment.

Birches NEWS No. 16

Friends, do you think it all happened by chance? Could it be that the vulnerability was simultaneously found by several programmers who are not geographically and socially connected (which is what happened)? Or don't you believe in coincidences? Please write about it.

The Japanese develop the technologies of the USSR

Back in 1976, the USSR patented a schematic diagram of a memory device, the memory cell of which was based on two components – a transistor and a capacitor. The transistor fixes the state of the capacitor, and if it is charged, then this state is assigned the value '1', if it is discharged, then '0'. Alas, difficulties in production, lack of interest among the authorities and a narrow outlook on life among party workers led to the almost complete oblivion of this simple idea. Although the FRAM 307 PB1 element was released, the idea was not further developed.

Birches NEWS No. 16

It is not known for certain whether the two events are somehow related – the beginning of 'perestroika' in 1985 (and the subsequent boom in the appearance of Soviet technologies around the world with other nameplates), the FRAM study at NASA in 1989 and the opening of the first production line for FRAM chips at manufactured by Fujitsu in 1999 … But let's go over the merits and demerits of such memory. The advantages include non-volatility, low power consumption and high write speed. The disadvantages include two interdependent points. The high production cost is due to the low prevalence of this type of memory, which leads to slow progress and low storage density (bits per square millimeter). On the other hand, friends, this is the only type of memory that, with proper investment, will knock both DDR and SSD out of the market, and ultimately turn a PC's hard drive into its own RAM. This can become a reality when the entire microcircuit is manufactured using a single 1-2 nm process technology.

Birches NEWS No. 16

Against this background, the news about the launch of the new Fujitsu MB85RS2MTA chip with a capacity of 2 Mbit should be taken favorably. The advantages of FRAM over flash are obvious – they are guaranteed storage of information for 10 years (without external recharge) versus 1 year, as well as a working resource, which is orders of magnitude more. The chip is already in mass production and is intended for IoT platforms and tasks related to continuous data rewriting.

Boston researchers shoved a robot into an animal and stretched its gut, a human is next

There are a number of medical cases in which a robotic implant can work wonders. One of these cases is short bowel syndrome, when after surgery to remove part or all of the small intestine, the digestive function of the whole body is disrupted. Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital conducted an unprecedented experiment on a large animal (without specifying which one), placing an implant inside the long intestine, the task of which was to gradually stretch the tissue remaining after removal. At the moment, it was possible to increase the length of the organ by 75%, while the animal was not hospitalized and led an active lifestyle. Such stimulation of growth in stunted organs has significant prospects.

Birches NEWS No. 16

Russell Jennings in person

Russell Jennings, M.D., Surgical Director of the Esophagus and Airways Division, put it this way:

“This project demonstrates evidence that miniature robots can stimulate organ growth within a living being without sedation or immobilization in the most difficult cases of esophageal atresia. The potential uses of such robots have yet to be fully explored and understood, but they will certainly be applied to many organs in the near future.

Of the currently used methods of restoring organs by stretching them, the first in terms of effectiveness is the 'Foker' procedure, which is associated with immobilization (and often artificial coma) of the patient for 1-4 weeks in order to avoid rupture of the sutures. The innovative 'intestinal' robot is covered with a biocompatible and waterproof material and is attached with rings and sutures to the outer lining of the intestine. A programmable control unit outside the patient's body applies adjustable traction forces to the rings, which pull the tissue in the desired direction. It turns out a kind of Ilizarov apparatus, on the contrary. After passing the tests on animals, the method will be tested on volunteers, and, undoubtedly, there will be more healthy and happy people.

Desktop Windows 10 for ARM chips launched on Lumia 1520

The application Windows Phone Internals, known in a narrow circle of marginals, which gives full access to smartphones based on Windows Phone, has been updated to version 2.3. Among the various exciting novelties – the ability to download any ROMs to your smartphone. Apparently, due to narrow thinking and lack of imagination, enthusiasts began to experiment with different varieties Windows (although setting Android on Lumia seems more logical).

Birches NEWS No. 16

Gustav M. ( installed RT on the Lumia 1520 Windows, ironically that he replaced one dead operating system with another. Another developer, Blaze, did the same on his Lumia 950. Gustav, however, soon moved on to bigger and brighter things and downloaded the full Windows 10 (for ARM) on his Lumia 1520.

At the moment, the system can only start, while the touchscreen does not work (there is no sensor driver). All of these installations are more demonstrations of capabilities than anything useful. For those who have always wanted to see the desktop Windows 10 or Android on their Lumia, hope sparkled with new colors. Moreover, the utility Windows Phone Internals 2.3 has been downloaded more than 10,000 times.

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