Microsoft disables Spectre patch after bugs reported

Herbert Rhodes
January 30, 2018

Intel reported its fourth-quarter earnings last week, after which the stock jumped almost 10% despite the news about Meltdown and Spectre continuing to trickle in.

The Journal has reported that the company notified some of its customers about the security flaws found in its processors, named Spectre and Meltdown.

Intel asking everyone to skip its flawed firmware updates was apparently not enough for Microsoft.

In a recent statement, Microsoft explained the reasoning behind the emergency Windows patch, stating that "Our own experience is that system instability can in some circumstances cause data loss or corruption..." The company warned users last week that its Spectre fixes have been causing problems such as random reboots, they also warned users that the fixes may also cause "Data loss or corruption".

Microsoft released an emergency out-of-band update for its supported Windows platforms this weekend, but to remove rather than add a new security feature: Intel's faulty microcode update, created to address the Spectre security vulnerability.

Since then, some updates to chips made by Intel and AMD were later revealed to cause their own problems. Earlier reports claimed Intel is having being warned of the flaws by Google late previous year itself though it came to be known to all in early January.

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Microsoft's update is available for Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7, though users will need to download it manually to put it into action.

Microsoft is working with Intel to deliver the update next month which would not only fix the vulnerability but also restore the performance of the system. "We understand that Intel is continuing to investigate the potential impact of the current microcode version ..."

Spectre and Meltdown are vulnerabilities in modern chip design that could allow attackers to bypass system protections on almost every recent PC, server and smartphone-allowing hackers to read sensitive information, such as passwords, from memory.

Intel CEO later allayed fears of any data breach.

Because they had early warning, Microsoft, Google and Amazon were able to roll out protections for their cloud-computing customers before details of Meltdown and Spectre became public.

Microsoft only recommends Windows users make use of Intel's patch once the chipmakers has a fully-tested and stable patch for Spectre.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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