AMD starts delivering their own Meltdown and Spectre patches

Alfred Osborne
January 13, 2018

AMD has confirmed that its processors are exposed to both variants of the Spectre security flaw, but reiterated that its CPUs are immune to the Meltdown flaw that largely affects only Intel microprocessors.

Microsoft is distributing patches for the majority of AMD systems now.

As ZDNet spotted, Nvidia noted that it wasn't affected by Meltdown (which is specific to Intel's processors), but that its GPUs were affected by the far more wide-ranging and problematic Spectre. Also, those using Microsoft patches may need to make adjustments to their registry keys to avoid interference with antivirus software. "We also commit to adding incremental funding for academic and independent research into potential security threats".

"The degree of collaboration across the industry has been remarkable", he said.

In particular, he thanked the Google Project Zero team for practising responsible disclosure, creating the opportunity for the industry to address these issues in a co-ordinated way.

Intel Executive Vice President Navin Shenoy on Wednesday issued an update on the impact of the patches on performance, saying that eighth-generation Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake platforms would see less than a 6 percent performance decrease.

Upcoming CPU patches could cause performance issues

Enclosed in an open letter from CEO, Brian Krzanich, the company has affirmed its desire to offer more "transparent and timely communications". The company immediately began engineering work on updates to mitigate the risk.

The glitch underlines the difficulty of Intel's challenge as it rushes to fix the unprecedented vulnerabilities, say industry commentators.

"Specifically, these systems are running Intel Broadwell and Haswell CPUs for both client and datacentre", he said. If this requires a revised firmware update from Intel, we will distribute that update through the normal channels.

Internet and networking equipment maker Cisco Systems said in a security advisory that it has identified 18 vulnerable products, including some of its blade servers, rack servers and routers, and expects to have patches for servers in about five weeks.

The tech titan has confirmed the Spectre/Meltdown vulnerability's existence late a year ago, admitting that its latest chips have security holes remote attackers could exploit.

"Microsoft has reports of customers with some AMD devices getting into an unbootable state after installing recent Windows operating system security updates", a Microsoft spokesperson explained.

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