Spectre now makes Chrome run slower and use more RAM

Ruben Fields
July 15, 2018

Later, in Chrome 66, which launched in April, Google opened the field testing to general users, who could enable Site Isolation via the chrome://flags option. Each renderer process is smaller and short lived, but Google hasn't figured out how to cut down the memory overhead below 10 percent, the lower limit where it was in Chrome 63 due to the larger number of processes.in Chrome 66 it was between 10 to 13 percent.

Spectre and Meltdown have allowed an unknown amount of machines to be infected. In the ensuing mess that occurred, Microsoft and other software platform makers pledged to help Intel distribute patches for these vulnerabilities to users.

So, it sounds like Google will be working to decrease the RAM impact Site Isolation has on Chrome, but there are some things you can do to make sure that the impact isn't so great.

Google recently enabled a new security feature as part of Chrome 67 that aims to mitigate speculative execution side-channel attacks like Spectre. A new round of Spectre flaws have appeared, but Google is in the process of adding functionality to desktop Chrome that will block remote execution of Spectre. But this marks the first time that the firm has admitted to the cost of its current fix.

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All major browsers have already deployed some form of mitigations for Spectre but as Reis points out, Google believes the most effective mitigation is offered by approaches like Site Isolation. This would normally fail to render and not expose the data to the page, but that data would still end up inside the renderer process where a Spectre attack might access it. The feature will see Chrome use up more renderer processes, which in turn comes with a performance trade-off.

Google on yesterday, July 11 has rolled out a new design refresh mode update to its Chrome Canary experimental browser across Chrome OS, Linux, and Windows. The remaining 1% of installations without Site Isolation is used as a control group to monitor performance and issues.

Web browser Google Chrome is set to go through a makeover and get a new appearance, according to reports. Site Isolation will soon be available by default on Chrome for Android apps. "As a result, a malicious website will find it more hard to steal data from other sites, even if it can break some of the rules in its own process".

With Site Isolation on by default in 99% of all Chrome desktop instances, the browser's Task Manager verifies that the defense is up and running.

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