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Title:       EGI SVG 'ADVISORY' [TLP:WHITE] HIGH risk L1TF - Speculative Execution Side Channel 
             vulnerabilities concerning Intel processors CVE-2018-3620, CVE-2018-3646 [EGI-SVG-CVE-2018-3620]  

Date:        2018-09-04

Affected software and risk

HIGH risk L1TF Speculative Execution Side Channel vulnerabilities concerning Intel processors

Package : Intel Processors
CVE ID  : CVE-2018-3620, CVE-2018-3646 

Intel has issued an advisory INTEL-SA-00161 [R 1], concerning Speculative Execution side channel 
vulnerabilities concerning Intel processors known as the 'L1 Terminal Fault' (a.k.a. Foreshadow) [R 2].  
RedHat has classed these as 'Important' [R 3], as they may allow an attacker to read unauthorized data 
from physical memory, and has issued updates which mitigate these vulnerabilities. 

Actions required/recommended

Sites should update their linux systems if they have not done so already (since 14th August when mitigation 
for this issue via the various linux operating systems became available.) Sites should re-boot after 
installation of patches. 

Patches and re-boots are particularly important on machines where unprivileged users may have access 
e.g. worker nodes (WNs) and user interfaces (UIs) and on hypervisors.

Component installation information

For RedHat enterprise Linux see [R 4] 

For Scientific Linux see [R 5] 

For CentOS see [R 6] 

For Ubuntu see [R 7]

For Debian see [R 8] 


Applying the updates mitigates these intel problems.

More information

In this latest kernel update RedHat also includes a mitigation for CVE-2018-3693, 
known as "Speculative Bounds Checks Bypass with Store (BCBS)"

Further note that updating to the latest kernel and microcode/firmware also remediates other 
vulnerabilities which were fixed in previous updates, including CVE-2018-3639, 
known as "Speculative Store Bypass" (SSB) or "Spectre Variant 4". But a full mitigation
 for that latter vulnerability requires also updating other packages, including among 
others libvirt and qemu-kvm, see [R 9] 
Note that the microcode as shipped by RHEL 7 is not vulnerable to CVE-2018-3615 
(also listed in the Intel advisory [R 1]), while for example Debian Stretch and Jessie 
(stable and old-stable) do have security patches [R 10].

SVG considers the likelihood of exploit of this vulnerability to be quite low, but the 
impact could be very high and very difficult to trace. 

SVG plans to put more information on the SVG wiki [R 11] alongside the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities. 


** WHITE information - Unlimited distribution - 
   see for distribution restrictions***                       


Minor updates may be made without re-distribution to the sites


Comments or questions should be sent to svg-rat at

If you find or become aware of another vulnerability which is relevant to EGI you may report it by e-mail to 

report-vulnerability at
the EGI Software Vulnerability Group will take a look according to the procedure defined in [R 12]  

Note that this has been updated and the latest version approved by the Operations Management Board in November 2017


[R 1]

[R 2]

[R 3] 

[R 4]

[R 5]

[R 6]

[R 7]

[R 8]

[R 9]

[R 10 ]

[R 11]

[R 12]


SVG was alerted to this vulnerability by Vincent Brillault who is a member of SVG 

Yyyy-mm-dd  [EGI-SVG-2018-CVE-2018-3620] 

2018-08-14 SVG alerted to this issue by Vincent Brillault 
2018-08-31 Advisory drafted
2018-09-04 Advisory sent to sites


This advisory has been prepared as part of the effort to fulfil EGI SVG's purpose 
"To minimize the risk to the EGI infrastructure arising from software vulnerabilities"

The risk is that assessed by the group, according to the EGI SVG issue handling procedure [R 12] 
in the context of how the software is used in the EGI infrastructure. It is the opinion of the group, 
we do not guarantee it to be correct. The risk may also be higher or lower in other deployments 
depending on how the software is used.   

Others may re-use this information provided they:-

1) Respect the provided TLP classification

2) Credit the EGI Software Vulnerability Group

On behalf of the EGI SVG,