Microsoft issues emergency Windows patch to undo Intel's bad Spectre fix

30 January, 2018, 01:57 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Enlarge  A closeup shot of an Intel Haswell die with a pin for size

Those silicon families were introduced in 2015 and 2013, respectively.

"Our own experience is that system instability can in some circumstances cause data loss or corruption", Microsoft confirmed in the support document accompanying the surprise update. Unfortunately, these update didn't quite do the trick, so the company made a decision to release KB4078130 in order to disable Spectre patches. Those instructions offer IT administrators the keys which, when added to the Windows registry, enable or disable the mitigations.

"Intel's tricky path - inform enough big customers to head off significant damage while keeping the information as contained as possible to limit potential leaks - continues to weigh on smaller companies that weren't given an early nod", the Journal's report read.

According to former NSA staffer Jake Williams who now owns a cybersecurity firm called Rendition Infosec, vulnerabilities like Meltdown and Spectre would have sparked the interest of any intelligence organization.

The foundation said that had any of the parties observed some amount of transparency about the security issue, corrective and preventive measures would have been better implemented, and that this case should help the industry find a better way of dealing with similar vulnerabilities in the future. Users of Windows 8.1 and later will receive the update via the automatic update system.

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Intel says that nearly all older computers running high-demanding tasks such as Photoshop will experience a noticeable slowdown. Intel's update that was meant to make your device more secure is resulting in unexpected reboots and more alarming, data loss or corruption.

Eleven days later, on January 22, Intel told customers to hold off on deploying those firmware updates.

Intel CEO later allayed fears of any data breach. We are working quickly with these customers to understand, diagnose and address this reboot issue. More details are available here.

Microsoft is not aware of any issues affecting this patch.

Microsoft, Redmond, Wash., said the update will roll back the Intel mitigation related to Spectre variant 2, also known as the "branch target injection" vulnerability. If you're using Windows 7, you will need to download the new update from Microsoft's Update Catalog website (which doesn't seem to work with Chrome or Firefox) as Microsoft stopped delivering automatic updates to Windows 7 a while ago.

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