Virtualization in the age of speculative execution hardware bugs

Can you possibly speculate how badly the spectre of the hardware bugs, recently discovered in microprocessors, haunts virtualized systems (like Xen & KVM)? Are things fine, or is everything going to meltdown ? Come to the talk, and let’s discuss this together…

At the beginning of 2018, Meltdown and Spectre taught us that speculative execution can, from deep down inside our super fast processors, pose some security concerns. During the following months, more Spectre variants, L1TF, etc, taught us how really serious such concerns needed to be.

One of the interesting things about this class of security issues, is that they do not come, like most bugs, from someone’s “mistake”. In fact, they represent the failure of fundamental assumptions that CPU designers have been relying on for years.

This talk will give a quick overview of speculative execution, and of how the attacks work, at a high level. Then, it will go through how these vulnerabilities could be exploited in virtualized environments. It will also try to explain what the main mitigations are, and how they work, for the two main Open Source virtualization solutions, Xen and KVM.

track icon Internals
duration icon 45 min
language icon English
level icon Intermediate


This talk video is not yet available, but we upload new videos and slides every month.

What is LinuxLab?

LinuxLab - Building smarter devices - is the conference on Linux, kernel, embedded, build systems, security, virtualization technologies and open source. LinuxLab is organized by Develer, the company who launched events like Better Software, Better Embedded, QtDay, PyCon and EuroPython.