Google has patched the Spectre CPU vulnerabilities in its Chrome browser but they have resulted in Chrome using more RAM than before. Google has confirmed in a blog post that a feature that protects users against Spectre side-channel attacks results in increased RAM usage. The feature offers protection against attacks that use the speculative execution features of most processors in order to get access to parts of the memory which aren’t meant to be accessed.
Google’s new Site Isolation feature has been detailed for its latest Chrome 67 release. The feature is enabled by default so Chrome users will notice the RAM usage increase only once they have downloaded the latest version of the browser.
“There is about a 10-13 percent total memory overhead in real workloads due to the larger number of processes,” explained Google software engineer Charlie Reis who added that Google has to render more processes with Site Isolation which is not possible to achieve without sacrificing some performance.
The company reiterates in this blog post that following this update, RAM usage for Chrome across Chrome OS, Windows, and Mac will be increased but it won’t let users keep up with that forever. Google has also said that “Our team continues to work hard to optimize this behavior to keep Chrome both fast and secure.”
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