[Beowulf] RHEL7 kernel update for L1TF vulnerability breaks RDMA

Jörg Saßmannshausen sassy-work at sassy.formativ.net
Sun Aug 19 13:59:52 PDT 2018

Dear all,

whereas I am accepting that no system is 100% secure ans bug-free, I am 
beginning to wonder whether the current problems we are having are actually 
design flaws and whether, and that is the more important bit, Intel and other 
vendors did know about it. I am thinking of the famous 'diesel-engine' scandal 
and, continuing this line of thought, dragging the vendors into the limelight 
and get them to pay for this. 
I mean, we have to sort out the mess the company was making in the first place, 
have to judge whether to apply a patch which might decrease the performance of 
our systems (I am doing HPC, hence my InfiniBand question) versus security. 
Where will it stop?

Given the current and previous 'bugs' are clearly design flaws IMHO, what are 
the chances of a law suite? The any compensation here should go to Open Source 
projects, in my opinion, which are making software more secure. 

Any comments here?

All the best


Am Sonntag, 19. August 2018, 06:11:16 BST schrieb John Hearns via Beowulf:
> Rather more seriously, this is a topic which is well worth discussing,
> What are best practices on patching HPC systems?
> Perhaps we need a separate thread here.
> I will throw in one thought, which I honestly do not want to see happening.
> I recently took a trip to Bletchley Park in the UK. On display there was an
> IBM punch card machine and sample punch cards Back in the day one prepared
> a 'job deck' which was collected by an operator in a metal hopper then
> wheeled off to the mainframe. You did not ever touch the mainframe. So
> effectively an air gapped system. A system like that would in these days
> kill productivity.
> However should there be 'virus checking' of executables  before they are
> run on compute nodes.
> One of the advantages lauded for Linux systems is of course that anti-virus
> programs are not needed.
> Also I should ask - in the jargon of anti-virus is there a 'signature' for
> any of these exploit codes? One would guess that bad actors copy the
> example codes already published and use these almost in a cut and paste
> fashion. So the signature would be tight loops repeatedly reading or
> writing to the same memory locations. Can that be distinguished from
> innocent code?
> On Sun, 19 Aug 2018 at 05:59, John Hearns <hearnsj at googlemail.com> wrote:
> > *To patch, or not to patch, that is the question:* Whether 'tis nobler in
> > the mind to suffer
> > The loops and branches of speculative execution,
> > Or to take arms against a sea of exploits
> > And by opposing end them. To die—to sleep,
> > No more; and by a sleep to say we end
> > The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
> > That HPC is heir to: 'tis a consummation
> > Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep
> > 
> > On Sun, 19 Aug 2018 at 02:31, Chris Samuel <chris at csamuel.org> wrote:
> >> On Sunday, 19 August 2018 5:19:07 AM AEST Jeff Johnson wrote:
> >> > With the spate of security flaws over the past year and the impacts
> >> 
> >> their
> >> 
> >> > fixes have on performance and functionality it might be worthwhile to
> >> 
> >> just
> >> 
> >> > run airgapped.
> >> 
> >> For me none of the HPC systems I've been involved with here in Australia
> >> would
> >> have had that option.  Virtually all have external users and/or reliance
> >> on
> >> external data for some of the work they are used for (and the sysadmins
> >> don't
> >> usually have control over the projects & people who get to use them).
> >> 
> >> All the best,
> >> Chris
> >> --
> >> 
> >>  Chris Samuel  :  http://www.csamuel.org/  :  Melbourne, VIC
> >> 
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