Microsoft Releases Patch To Disable Intel's Flawed Spectre Mitigation

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

Those problems can include "higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior" on systems with Broadwell and Haswell processors, according to an Intel advisory. Those silicon families were introduced in 2015 and 2013, respectively.

If you're not keen on removing the protection against Spectre, and feel like the possibility of system crashes is a price worth paying, then Microsoft has made it possible for users to manually disable and enable the mitigation against Spectre by changing registry settings. 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". The update is now available from the Microsoft Update Catalog website and while it disables Intel's microcode fixes it does leave the fixes for the other two Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities intact.

Microsoft says that update will cover Windows 7 (SP1), Windows 8.1, and all versions of Windows 10. Apparently, some of the software updates meant to fix them are. Tech firms such as Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft moved fast to issue fixes for their computer systems but the majority of other manufacturers were left in a panic as they attempted to roll out updates to their hardware.

It's the latest development in the rocky recovery process from the design flaw called Spectre. Earlier reports claimed Intel is having being warned of the flaws by Google late previous year itself though it came to be known to all in early January. Intel, for example, pushed its initial updates out the first week of January, and largely completed the task by the end of the second week. Intel denied this, saying performance would vary depending on workloads. Intel's still not published a timeframe for when its functioning microcode update will be issued to hardware vendors.

Further fallout could likely be in relation to reports that Intel CEO Brian Krzanich sold millions of dollars' worth of personal stock before the public was made aware of the vulnerabilities, and that Intel notified a select group of customers, including Chinese tech firms, about the bugs before informing USA officials. "We are also working directly with data center customers to discuss the issue". More details are available here. Joyent, a United States cloud-services provider owned by Samsung Electronics, was among those that may have benefited from a warning but wasn't included in the select group informed ahead of the public reveal. This update fixes the Reboot issues faced by Intel devices because of the earlier released official Specter fixes.

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