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m3n4.net April 23, 2018


AMD To Begin Distributing Firmware Updates To Patch Spectre Vulnerability

13 January 2018, 01:39 | Antoinette Holland

Tech Companies are Racing to Fix a Chip Bug, But Threats Will Linger

Intel produces white paper, benchmark on Meltdown, Spectre

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has penned an open letter to the rest of the technology industry, addressing concerns over the two major CPU security flaws.

Shenoy assured customers that Intel had yet to see any evidence that the Meltdown and Spectre exploits had been used to obtain personal data.

"If this requires a revised firmware update from Intel, we will distribute that update through the normal channels".

Intel sent the technology industry scrambling earlier this month when it announced that the microchips powering almost every computer and smartphone have for years carried fundamental flaws that can be exploited by hackers.

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On Tuesday, Microsoft published a blog post where it said it expects "most users" with older computers to "notice a decrease in system performance" after applying patches to fix the flaw.

Chief executive Brian Krzanich said Intel will have updates for at least 90 percent of Intel processors released in the past five years by January 15 U.S. time, with the remaining older parts being covered by the end of the month.

While no exploit has been observed in the wild, operating system makers and chip vendors have been rushing to devise software-level patches to keep users secure. To date, no severe hack or data leak has been linked to the vulnerabilites.

Intel is now planning to provide "frequent progress reports of patch progress, performance data, and other information" over at Intel's dedicated Spectre and Meltdown site. "AMD and Microsoft have been working on an update to resolve the issue and expect it to begin rolling out again for those impacted shortly". Intel might be taking the flak for the vulnerability, but AMD has snuck in an announcement that the flaw is effecting its processors as well. But the revelation of its existence hit Intel the hardest, in part because unlike other processors, its chips are vulnerable to both attacks. Unfortunately there have been reports on some AMD Windows PCs "bricking", especially with patches for older AMD processors (AMD Opteron, Athlon and AMD Turion X2 Ultra families). If you have the misfortune of using a i7-6700K - a processor that's less than 3 years old - with Windows 10 and an SSD, you're looking at a relative performance hit of 21%. The chipmaker said that fixes for security issues in its microchips would not slow down computers, rebuffing concerns that the flaws would significantly reduce performance. The comment came from Terry Myerson, head of the Windows and Devices group, who urged server users to "balance the security versus performance trade-off for your environment".

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The performance impact on 8th generation platforms (Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake) with SSDs is small.

Apple claims that performance of Macs, iPhones and iPads is largely unaffected by the patches, stating "our testing with public benchmarks has shown that the changes in the December 2017 updates resulted in no measurable reduction in the performance of macOS and iOS as measured by the GeekBench 4 benchmark, or in common Web browsing benchmarks".

"All of our cloud services are affected by updates required to mitigate the Meltdown vulnerability", it said in an.

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