Microsoft Patch Nukes Bad Intel Firmware


In a move to help Windows users avoid unstable system performance, or worse, Microsoft issued its own patch that disables Intel's fix, specifically as it applies to Spectre's branch target injection vulnerability (Variant 2).

Intel may be in hot water following revelations that it disclosed information about the risky Meltdown and Spectre flaws to certain Chinese customers before notifying the U.S. government.

Microsoft has disabled a recent Intel fix for the Spectre CPU flaw after the update caused some systems to unexpectedly reboot.

That "behavior described" Microsoft talks about is the reboot and potential data corruption issues.

The update was written for all supported versions of Windows, including Windows 7, 8.1 and 10, as well as the corresponding Server editions. If you're experiencing the problem you'll need to download the update, as it won't yet install automatically. Before the Windows update, Intel had recommended user's to not update their firmware till the issues were ironed out. "There are no known reports to indicate that this Spectre variant 2 (CVE 2017-5715) has been used to attack customers, a Microsoft said". That makes it quite possible of the government there of having got information of the security flaw and might well have made hacking attempts before suitable patches could have been made available.

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Intel dodged a bullet when its latest earnings report showed minimal financial impact from Spectre and Meltdown.

They have been drawing criticism recently for their decision to tell Chinese companies including Alibaba and Lenovo before alerting the USA government.

Since then, some updates to chips made by Intel and AMD were later revealed to cause their own problems.

The two most worrisome vulnerabilities in computers to have surfaced in recent months are Spectre and Meltdown, which were first first disclosed earlier this month. The point here is that the United States government wasn't notified first where they could have helped coordinate disclosures to ensure that enough companies were able to have fixes in place before news of these vulnerabilities spread like wildfire.

The best way to protect your devices and your data is to stay up to date with security updates. Intel had itself warned last week that the buggy firmware updates could result in data loss. The new patches expected to properly mitigate against Spectre and Meltdown while preserving overall system reliability.