Intel finally introduces a chip

Intel finally introduces a chip

Hello and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! today: After years of delays, Intel’s latest server chips have arrived (in limited configurations), Okta has a plan to solve a biometric data breach, and security professionals have fled to Mastodon.

Hello, Intel has shipped a server chip

After delaying mass production of its next-generation server chips for more than a year, Intel has unveiled technical details of its first batch of high-performance silicon.

On Wednesday, Intel announced two processors: A chip based on the much-anticipated Sapphire Rapids design and a copy of the upcoming Ponte Vecchio server GPUs. Both target high-performance computing and artificial intelligence – and are likely to be the most expensive version of the upcoming full server chipset.

  • High-end supercomputer chips are called the Max series, and Intel managers have positioned them as well-suited to high-performance computing and the uses of artificial intelligence.
  • The new chips are well-suited for uses such as climate modeling and molecular dynamics.
  • Intel said the new CPUs and GPUs will be integrated into a supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory.

The new high-performance processors rely on more chips than any previous generation, It is built on the company’s Intel 7 processing technology, which has had its own set of issues and delays.

  • Intel says the GPU is the company’s highest density processor, packing 100 billion transistors into a package of 47 chips, for example.
  • Intel will make some GPU chiplets, others by rival TSMC.
  • The new CPU will also include chiplets, but Intel executives have pushed the extra performance that high-bandwidth memory, or HBM, provides in the CPU as one of its main selling points.
  • Intel executives said on the briefing call that the Max CPU will be generally available in January, and the Max GPU is scheduled to be available early in the second quarter.

Sapphire Rapids server chip delays have been a lot.

  • The chips were originally scheduled to be released in 2021.
  • But Intel said in June 2021 that it plans to push primary production into the first quarter of 2022, with it expected to rise to large volume in the second quarter of this year.
  • This did not happen.
  • Then, earlier this year Intel executives said the company had run into problems, meaning it plans to ramp up production later in the year than it originally expected.
  • CEO Pat Gelsinger has blamed Sapphire Rapids’ delays on previous administrations, and said earlier this year at an investor conference that the project began five years ago, according to a transcript from Sentieo.
  • A November report in TrendForce stated that mass production of Sapphire Rapids chips had again been delayed.
  • And now Intel says it will release the rest of its Sapphire Rapids chips in January.

The successive delays have cost Intel dearly. The company essentially missed the entire data center sales cycle, and continued to cede more revenue and market share to Arm and AMD-based competitors.

  • For nearly five years, Intel has controlled nearly 100% of server CPU and GPU sales, according to research by Jefferies analyst Mark Lipacis.
  • Looking at new CPU instances spun by major cloud computing providers — which provide useful, albeit inaccurate data — Intel’s share is down to 76.1% from 90.3% in September 2019, according to Jefferies data.
  • AMD gained, moving from a 6.5% share to 16.7%, according to the data.
  • Intel’s numerous delays paved the way for other non-x86 companies on the market, such as AWS’s Arm-based Graviton processors and Arm’s Ampere line of servers.

– Max A. Cherny (E-mail | Twitter)


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don’t hunt

Okta has developed a new capability for its passwordless authentication system aimed at countering the illicit use of biometric login data, a move aimed at avoiding the potential path of malicious actors becoming increasingly sneaky in phishing attempts.

“Threat actors are getting better and evolving, and this is kind of a quest to make sure we are one step ahead of them,” Todd McKinnon, co-founder and CEO of Octa, said in an exclusive interview with Protocol.

A new capability of Okta’s passwordless authentication product, FastPass, is now in early access preview, and is expected to be generally available in early 2023.

Biometric data is an inherently more secure authentication method due to the unique nature of each person’s fingerprint or face scan. But a series of high-profile cases of thwarting multi-factor authentication, including the interception of one-time passcodes, shows that biometric logins could become a bigger target for phishing, too, according to Okta.

McKinnon said the company’s response to the looming threat is to “make even biometric authenticators more anti-phishing” by default.

The method Okta implements involves linking the biometric login information to the user’s device so that only that device can use that information for authentication.

“What that means is that if someone creates a fake phishing site and tricks you into pushing your fingerprint to the fake page, it won’t be of any use to them,” McKinnon said. “They can’t use that to log in with your name afterwards.”

Specifically, the new ability prevents login keys that are generated in response to a user’s biometric data from being reused rather than protecting the biometric data itself, according to Okta. The company said that actual biometrics are already protected because they do not leave the user’s device as part of the FastPass system.

The new ability, Advanced Phishing Resistance for FastPass, comes amid research showing that identity-based attacks are now the largest source of breaches by far. This capability was announced among several Okta product updates on Wednesday in connection with the company’s Oktane conference.

– Kyle Elsbach (E-mail | Twitter)

Infosec Hearts Mastodon

If you’re a big participant in “InfoSec Twitter,” where cybersecurity professionals go to share information and empathize, you might have noticed something different this week. There has never been one of the most prolific speakers in society.

Researcher Kevin Beaumont of Mastodon ended up, or more specifically, in the platform’s infosec.exchange instance. On Saturday, the last day Beaumont tweeted, he told his more than 150,000 Twitter followers that he would be uninstalling Twitter and only using Mastodon for this week. “I’m not planning to emigrate yet,” he said. chirp in time. “But my life jacket is working.” Back in Mastodon, Beaumont maintained his usual steady pace of tweeting (sorry, “tooting”), which included revealing the name and several details about the Windows zero-vulnerability, “ZippyReads”.

While not all well-known personalities from InfoSec Twitter have done much, if any, on Mastodon, very few have. Overall, Infosec.exchange — which had only 180 active users until a few days ago, manager Jerry Bell told Wired — now has 13,500 active users. And they’ve been very active, too: the example now has a total of 170,000 shares. Bell told Wired that the discussions undoubtedly became more substantive after the arrival of the InfoSec audience on Twitter. A few other security-focused cases have also emerged.

Will it continue, or will everyone be back on Twitter next week? Will the obvious limitations of the Mastodon platform, and the many differences from Twitter, put a lot of people off? And most importantly, who really wants to say “tut”? Other than the last question, where the answer is “nobody”, who knows. It’s also not clear how many Twitter communities this will easily translate to Mastodon.

But in terms of social media apps that are suddenly bustling, Mastodon seems to be off to a pretty strong start, at least for an already vibrant online community like InfoSec.

– Kyle Elsbach (E-mail | Twitter)


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Thanks for reading – see you tomorrow!

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