We recently received a question regarding Pocket P.C. and whether it is vulnerable to Meltdown or Spectre. Also, if there are any privacy concerns such as an Intel Management Engine possibly in ARM. Our response is below:
The Allwinner A64 SoC used in Pocket P.C. is based on an ARM Cortex-A53 CPU. Such cores are not vulnerable to Meltdown or Spectre as they do not perform out-of-order execution. See here: 'Spectre' and 'Meltdown': New CPU vulnerabilities affect most smartphones and computers - Android Authority
“Arm has also released a full security advisory called Vulnerability of Speculative Processors to Cache Timing Side-Channel Mechanism. Basically it says that the Cortex-A57, the Cortex-A72 and the Cortex-A73 are vulnerable to Spectre, and only the Cortex-A75 is vulnerable to Meltdown. The important thing here is that the Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A55 cores are NOT affected. This is because those two processor cores don’t do out-of-order execution.”
The Allwinner A64 SoC has a separate A100 or ARISC coprocessor present that is used for deep power-saving modes for the BSP kernel. This processor is currently not used for anything in mainline Linux, as power management is implemented using native drivers. A few projects have begun to write free firmware for the AR100, using it for power management or as an independent microcontroller.
More information on the AR100 core here:
More information on the open firmware here:
Our operations are in Shenzhen where I am now. I have direct insight over the full supply chain and we purchase components from major distributors.
If anyone has any further insight we would love to hear it. The above response was based on our own research. If any of the above is incorrect, please let us know.