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Microsoft stops Spectre, Meltdown fixes on AMD chip-run PCs

12 Enero 2018

Meltdown impacts nearly all modern Intel chips from the last two decades while Spectre affects other modern processors and smartphones.

However, Microsoft said in a statement that it is temporarily halting its updates for some older AMD systems after the devices running the chips did not react as well as expected after installing them. Chips made by Intel have been the most exposed when it comes to the security flaws. Its newest chips were slowed down by 12 percent and one older type of chip, the Intel Core i7 6700K processor running on Windows 10, took a 21 percent hit in responsiveness.

Microsoft has admitted that some of its security patches to fix the Intel security flaws Spectre and Meltdown may be slowing down systems. "After investigating, Microsoft 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". Still, AMD is impacted to some extent by the two exploits under the Spectre banner, and the company has now posted an update to its website detailing its approach to mitigating each variant. It also has been reported that some of the recently developed patches can downgrade processor performance anywhere from five-to-35%. To get your affected PC back to a bootable state, you will have to visit Microsoft's support site for fixes.

Intel's stock prize has dropped by 7 % on the market ever since what began as rumors of the bugs turned to be true.

Meltdown removes the barrier between user applications and sensitive parts of the operating system while Spectre, which is also reportedly found in some AMD and ARM processors, can trick vulnerable applications into leaking the contents of their memory. Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich warned that some software programs were seeing "a larger impact than others".

"Based on our most recent PC benchmarking, we continue to expect that the performance impact should not be significant for average computer users", Intel said.

Rosenblatt Securities analyst Hans Mosesmann said Nvidia's driver updates could become a problem for data centres and lead corporate customers to hold off on buying servers which have GPUs.