Chrome's method of protecting against Spectre uses more RAM

Spectre Mitigation Increases Chrome Memory Usage, Google Says

"In Chrome 67 ... even if a Spectre attack were to occur in a malicious web page, data from other websites would generally not be loaded into the same process, and so there would be much less data available to the attacker. As a result, Chrome can rely on the operating system to prevent attacks between processes, and thus, between sites", Google explains.

As long as you see the subframe processes, Site Isolation is enabled on your system. With Chrome 67, things just got even worse.

"It was still possible for an attacker's page to share a process with a victim's page". Site Isolation does cause Chrome to create more renderer processes, which comes with performance tradeoffs: on the plus side, each renderer process is smaller, shorter-lived, and has less contention internally, but there is about a 10-13 percent total memory overhead in real workloads due to the larger number of processes.

Assuming you have a ton of tabs open already, you can open up Google Chrome's Task Manager (Under Menu - More Tools) and look for processes that say "Subframe:" and show a URL that is clearly not something you're browsing directly-for instance doubleclick.net or 2mdn.net, which are iframes for ads.

Spectre, for those who have forgotten, is a fundamental design flaw in every CPU on the market that exploits an issue in speculative execution to effectively read memory that the process should not have access to.

However, the Site Isolation feature narrows the scope, limiting each renderer process to documents from at most one site.

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"This means all navigations to cross-site documents cause a tab to switch processes".

This also means that all iframes on a page (generally for ads) are put into a separate process than the parent frame, further increasing memory usage, but increasing security at the same time.

Google promises other improvements to site isolation that will help mitigate attacks beyond Spectre. The first uses of out-of-process iframes shipped past year to improve the Chrome extension security model.

A single page may now be split across multiple renderer processes using out-of-process iframes. CORB tries to transparently block cross-site HTML, XML, and JSON responses from the renderer process, with nearly no impact to compatibility.

To address the vulnerability, Chrome developers have rolled out a feature called Site Isolation, which offers more protection between websites behind the scenes. Those tweaks make it harder for malicious code to successfully pluck sensitive data out of restricted memory.

In statements, officials from both Microsoft and Mozilla said they continue to research new Spectre mitigations.

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