Spectre and Meltdown Exploits

Patches for Meltdown Spectre flaws in 90% Intel chips within a week says CEO Brian Krzanich

Microsoft has halted some patches for the Meltdown and Spectre chip bugs after AMD customers complained that the software updates froze their machines.

After investigating, Microsoft has determined that some AMD chipsets do not conform to the documentation previously provided to Microsoft to develop the Windows operating system mitigations to protect against the chipset vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown.

Spectre and Meltdown Exploits
Spectre and Meltdown Exploits

AMD said on the same day that the issue would affect mainly its decade-old Athlon X2 chips. While the principal companies involved have been coy about the performance impact that results from the patches recommended to deal with these issues, others have provided more details about exactly what type of applications are affected.

"AMD is aware of an issue with some older generational processors following installation of a Microsoft security update that was published over the weekend", the AMD statement said.

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AMD shares fell almost 4 percent in early trading on Wall Street, after rising almost 20 percent last week on hopes the software problem may allow AMD to wrest market share from rival Intel. Last week the stock rose almost 20 percent as investors speculated AMD could wrest market share from Intel, whose chips are exposed to risks from possible Meltdown and Spectre attacks.

According to Microsoft, the blame lies with the documentation supplied by AMD: "Microsoft has reports of customers with some AMD devices getting into an unbootable state after installing recent Windows operating system security updates".

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Rival AMD had also played down the threat, saying its products were at "zero risk" from the Meltdown flaw, but that one variant of the Spectre bug could be resolved by software updates from vendors such as Microsoft.

With Windows 10 on newer silicon (2016-era PCs with Skylake, Kabylake or newer CPU), benchmarks show single-digit slowdowns, but we don't expect most users to notice a change because these percentages are reflected in milliseconds.

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A Microsoft official confirmed today that some devices running on older Windows versions will see a significant slowdown and decrease in system performance after applying the Meltdown and Spectre security patches.

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