Microsoft Steps In to Correct Errant Intel Patch on Windows

Intel told Chinese companies about chip flaw before notifying US gov: report

A variant of the patch is available for advanced users that can be used to manually enable and disable the Spectre mitigation independently, through registry setting changes.

Intel has reported issues with recently released microcode meant to address "Spectre variant 2" termed as "CVE 2017-5715 Branch Target Injection". Microsoft told ZDNet it's now waiting for Intel to release the fixed firmware version after determining "system stability can in some circumstances cause data loss or corruption".

In other developments related to Spectre and Meltdown, which also affect many CPUs made by ARM and AMD, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Intel's initial disclosures about the vulnerabilities were made to "a small group of customers, including Chinese technology companies, but left out the USA government". The update does leave the fixes for the two other vulnerabilities that make up the Meltdown and Spectre attacks while removing the buggy code that caused stability issues with Spectre Variant 2. The news about the chip flaws was unleashed on January 3, the time Intel was preparing to announce to the public about the chip flaw discovery.

"Standard and well-established practice on initial disclosure is to work with industry participants to develop solutions and deploy fixes ahead of publication", the spokesperson said.

The update was written for all supported versions of Windows, including Windows 7, 8.1 and 10, as well as the corresponding Server editions.

Microsoft released an update over the weekend that disables a patch to Intel central processing units after reports that the patch caused unexpected reboots and other other problems. Intel chose not to inform governments directly about the flaws, something which seems like it really should be done in today's world.

In the rush to issue patches there have been multiple instances of Spectre- and Meltdown-related updates causing problems of their own.

CEO Brian Krzanich revealed that the company is working on a hardware fix for its next line of processors that will be available in 2019.

Because they had early warning, Microsoft, Google and Amazon were able to roll out protections for their cloud-computing customers before details of Meltdown and Spectre became public. Intel, meanwhile, told customers last week to refrain from installing current firmware updates created to counter the threats until further instructions.

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