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How to disable simultaneous multithreading on Lenovo ThinkPads


Simultaneous multithreading (SMT) is a common feature found in modern processors, allowing multiple independent threads to execute simultaneously on one CPU core. For x86 processors, the first to feature this ability was the Intel Pentium 4 ("Northwood") family, released in November 2002. These early CPUs featured two threads on one physical core. For a modern comparison, the Core i7-8809G has four physical cores, each with two threads, for a total of eight logical cores. Intel markets their implementation of SMT as "Hyperthreading."

Unfortunately, the security implications of having two threads occupy one physical core were not fully considered when this feature was implemented. Two major side-channel exploits discovered in 2018, TLBleed and PortSmash, demonstrate that it is technically feasible for a malicious program running in a single thread in a given physical core to extract data from the other thread in that physical core. Proof-of-concept code of both is...(continued)

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