Google Chrome Will Hog 10 Percent More RAM Thanks To Spectre Patch

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The good news is that Google has a patch for their Chrome browser that is supposed to protect against Spectre. The bad news is that it took them months to roll it out and it is a RAM hog. It is going to eat another 10 percent of your RAM on top of the already huge portion it consumes. The even worse news is that if you are married to using Chrome, there’s not a thing you can do about it. That said, using Chrome should now be safer than it has been in a long time.

Spectre and Meltdown are vulnerabilities on all machines that run Intel and AMD chips. What happens is that a vulnerability is left open that can allow malicious code to not only get onto your machine but also allows for speculative execution that makes it possible to read portions of your computer that should be off-limits. For example, someone stumbles onto a site running JavaScript that is infected with malware. While visiting, their machine becomes infected. The code keeps running long after the infected site has been left, and it starts to read memory which is one way it can steal passwords, browsing history, and pretty much anything that has been done on the computer.

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According to How To Geek, the fix, Site Isolation, which is on Chrome 67 by default, will separate rendering processes by site. That means that while you are reading this using Chrome, you will have one process for, and one for Chrome.exe. This separation is what will keep anyone that shouldn’t have access to a machine’s memory access processes from having it.

In an overview of this shared on Tom’s Guide, Google confirmed how the Spectre patch works, in broad terms, and reiterated that this patch will deliver more safety, but it isn’t really a 100 percent fix, but rather a threat reduction.

“This means that even if a Spectre attack were to occur in a malicious web page, data from other websites would generally not be loaded into the same process, and so there would be much less data available to the attacker. This significantly reduces the threat posed by Spectre.”

Spectre and Meltdown have allowed an unknown amount of machines to be infected. The general belief is that the number will never be known. It is in large part why a fix for this issue has been a priority at Google. While it isn’t ideal insofar as it is a RAM hog and adds extra processes, which can be viewed in the task manager, it does make the machines it operates on more secure, and in time, it is likely users will adjust to the deficiency in performance.