Proposed Linux Patch Allows Disabling CPU Security Mitigations at Build-Time
A proposed Linux kernel patch would provide a new Kconfig build time option of “CONFIG_DEFAULT_CPU_MITIGATIONS_OFF” to build an insecure kernel if wanting to avoid the growing list of CPU security mitigations within the kernel and their associated performance overhead.
While risking system security, booting the Linux kernel with the “mitigations=off” option has been popular for avoiding the performance costs of Spectre, Meltdown, and the many other CPU security vulnerabilities that have come to light in recent years. Using mitigations=off allows run-time disabling of the various in-kernel security mitigations for these CPU problems.
A patch proposed this week would provide CONFIG_DEFAULT_CPU_MITIGATIONS_OFF as a Kconfig switch that could optionally be enabled to have the same affect as mitigations=off but to be applied at build-time to avoid having to worry about setting the “mitigations=off” flag.
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