Microsoft releases emergency Windows update to hamstring earlier 'Spectre' defence

Microsoft releases emergency Windows update to hamstring earlier 'Spectre' defence

Microsoft releases emergency Windows update to hamstring earlier 'Spectre' defence

Microsoft says its testing has found that applying its update eliminates the stability problems - and potential data loss and corruption - that Intel's firmware patch has been causing.

For Intel, "America First" might not have applied to whom it told first when it discovered the now-infamous chip flaws that have been dubbed Spectre and Meltdown. This time, the update is not to fix anything, but to actually remove the buggy Intel fix for the Spectre variant 2 chip vulnerability (CVE-2017-5715).

How bad does a third-party fix have to be for Microsoft to issue a rare, weekend update that helps IT administrators disable it?

Intel has been making headlines as a chipset flaw named as Meltdown and Spectre have been creating major security issues on all computer platforms including Windows, Linux, and macOS.

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The emergency Windows update disabled Intel's mitigation for CVE-2017-5715 Variant Spectre 2 attack that has been described as a "branch target injection vulnerability".

Intel may be in hot water following revelations that it disclosed information about the unsafe Meltdown and Spectre flaws to certain Chinese customers before notifying the United States government. For the full list of devices, see Intel's microcode revision guidance.

Microsoft's updates are aimed at Windows Server users as well as consumers with Windows 7, 8.1 and 10.

Today's update i.e KB4078130 is available for all supported versions of Windows operating system and it can be only downloaded from Microsoft's Update Catalog.

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According to Jake Williams, head of security at Rendition Infosec, it's likely that the Chinese government had the information about the flaws from the Intel since most Chinese companies keep abreast with the trends in the communications. However, the patch was found to cause some slowdown with Intel processors. Before the Windows update, Intel had recommended user's to not update their firmware till the issues were ironed out.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said that they have committed to keeping their customers and owners appraised of their progress and, through their actions.

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. Earlier reports claimed Intel is having being warned of the flaws by Google late past year itself though it came to be known to all in early January.

In security update, Apple backports Meltdown fix to older macOS versions
It's a similar story with tvOS 11.2.5, which simply provides bug fixes, minor performance improvements, and security updates . The release notes are below, and you can review the relevant security updates at Apple's support website, as well.

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