Google Chrome, notorious for using large amounts of RAM, will now use 10% to 13% more RAM after the security fix for Spectre.
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Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer, had a bad reputation for being… extremely slow. Jokes and memes were made about the subject, until Microsoft killed the browser and rolled out Edge. On the other side, there is Chrome, who has been made fun of due to its high RAM usage for opening a few tabs.
Spectre is a bug discovered last year, who would take advantage of the speculative execution features of most CPUs (mainly on Intel’s side, as AMD CPUs handle this in a different way) to access parts of the memory that shouldn’t be accessible, putting in danger the data of the users’ machine, as an attacker could access the information easily.
The newest version of Chrome, Chrome 67, uses a new feature called “Site Isolation”, which, as the name says, isolates the website one is visiting, limiting the process to that single tab and switching process when switching tab. This limits the amount of information exposed to the potential attackers, as they will only have access to the infected tab and not the rest. This feature was introduced as early as Chrome 63 but is now enabled by default for 99% of Chrome users.
For this, Chrome will use up to 13% more RAM, which could potentially be an issue for users using machines with 4GB of RAM or less. It is less problematic for those with 8GB of RAM or less, but still quite annoying. “Site Isolation” will be released on Android later on, with Chrome 68.