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Microsoft plans to distribute Spectre Microcode updates through Windows 10

Motherboard makers: Can't someone else do it - Microsoft: ... Fine

Microsoft plans to distribute Spectre Microcode updates through Windows 10

Microsoft plans to distribute Spectre Microcode updates through Windows 10

Intel has finally started to release their Spectre Microcode mitigations to OEMs, allowing them to update their firmware to address the security implications of Spectre Variant 2, a  “Branch Target Injection”  vulnerability. 

While updates have already been issues for Haswell, Broadwell, Skylake, Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake, this raises a new problem. How long will it take for every affected platform to receive BIOS updates for every major manufacturer? After all, it takes a lot of time and money to create that many BIOS updates, especially when they have to work on antiquated hardware, which BIOS teams have not worked with for several years. 

This issue also raises a problem when it comes to updating extremely old hardware, with Intel planning to release updates for processors that date back to 2008, setting some unreasonable expectations on their hardware partners. Why should they create updates for hardware that is well out of warranty, no longer for sale and for a problem that wasn't caused by them? 

Thankfully Microsoft has stepped in to make the situation a little easier, announcing that they plan to make these updates available through their Windows Update platform, allowing the microcode to be loaded during the Windows boot sequence. So far only an update for Skylake series processors has been released, though Microsoft plans to release more over time as they become available from Intel and are adequately tested by Microsoft.  
 

      While firmware (microcode) security updates are not yet broadly available, Intel recently announced that they have completed their validations and started to release microcode for newer CPU platforms. Today, Microsoft will make available Intel microcode updates, initially for some Skylake devices running the most broadly installed version of Windows 10 — the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update — through the Microsoft Update Catalog, KB4090007. We will offer additional microcode updates from Intel as they become available to Microsoft. We will continue to work with chipset and device makers as they offer more vulnerability mitigations.

 Microsoft plans to distribute Spectre Microcode updates through Windows 10


So far Microsoft has only released an update for users of Intel’s Skylake H/S/U/Y and U23e series processors, which only work when users are running Windows 10 version 1709, their Fall Creators Update. Microsoft also warns that users must use a fully updated Anti-Virus to apply this update, as older software my exhibit compatibility issues. 

Microsoft is working with Anti-Virus partners to improve the compatibility of their Spectre mitigating microcode updates. At this time Microsoft has not confirmed any plans to allow these updates to install automatically, forcing users to search for the update manually. More information can be found here

You can join the discussion on Microsoft's plans to release Intel's Spectre Mitigating microcode updates on Windows 10 on the OC3D Forums

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02-03-2018, 08:40:21

TheF34RChannel
Aw hell please no!Quote
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