Disclaimer: This news item was originally posted on Wednesday, Jan 3, 2018. Its content may no longer be timely or accurate.

Microsoft issues an emergency Windows update for processor security bugs

Posted: 20:25:57, Wednesday, Jan 3, 2018   Expiration: 20:25:57, Monday, Jan 15, 2018

Outside of its normal Patch Tuesday cadence, Microsoft is issuing an emergency update to address a recently discovered processor exploit. Following up on the disclosure of exploits that affect Intel, AMD, and ARM processors, Microsoft is rolling out an emergency update for Windows users. In a statement to The Verge, Microsoft also confirmed that it is deploying fixes to its cloud services.

From Microsoft:

We're aware of this industry-wide issue and have been working closely with chip manufacturers to develop and test mitigations to protect our customers. We are in the process of deploying mitigations to cloud services and have also released security updates to protect Windows customers against vulnerabilities affecting supported hardware chips from Intel, ARM, and AMD. We have not received any information to indicate that these vulnerabilities had been used to attack our customers.

According to The Verge, Windows 10 users will be automatically updated with the patch today through Windows Update. And while the patch will be available from Microsoft for Windows 7 and 8 users today, they will have to wait until Patch Tuesday to receive it automatically via Windows Update.

The update follows a whirlwind of developments, starting with initial reports that Intel processors were impacted by a new security vulnerability. Researchers later disclosed virtually all modern processors are affected by two new exploits, dubbed Meltdown and Spectre, that can act as vectors for attackers to access things like passwords, photos, emails, and other sensitive information.

Meltdown is the easier to exploit of the two, according to researchers, and only appears to impact Intel processors. Patches for Meltdown are also already available, including those for Linux, macOS, and today's Windows update. Spectre, on the other hand, impacts a much wider array of processors, including those from Intel, AMD, and ARM. While it's more difficult to exploit, it is also much harder to fix. It's unclear if today's Windows update addresses Spectre.


Source: The Verge

-- Rice U: Diane Yee

Created: 20:34:50, Wednesday, Jan 3, 2018 (by Diane Y.)
Updated: 20:34:50, Wednesday, Jan 3, 2018 (by Diane Y.)