Microsoft Steps In to Correct Errant Intel Patch on Windows

Intel Warned Chinese Companies of Chip Flaws Before US Government

Many different generations of Intel chips were suffering such problems, including its latest processors, codenamed Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Skylake, Kaby Lake, Broadwell and Haswell.

Along with the turn-it-off update, Microsoft also published instructions for manually disabling the defenses against the pertinent Spectre vulnerability.

A spokeswoman for Alibaba's cloud unit declined to tell the newspaper when Intel notified them of the flaws, while stating that any suggestion that the company shared information with the Chinese government was "speculative and baseless". "Intel had planned to make the discovery public on January 9. but sped up its timetable when the news became widely known on January 3, a day after United Kingdom website The Register wrote about the flaws", the WSJ reports.

The problematic Intel fix was created to mitigate against attacks using the Spectre-related Branch Target Injection vulnerability, CVE 2017-5715.

The Meltdown and Spectre chip flaws were first identified by a member of Google's Project Zero security team shortly before they were independently uncovered and reported by other teams of security researchers.




The company's update that removes the problematic patch is available for Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1 and all of the client and server versions of Windows 10.

"Our own experience is that system instability can in some circumstances cause data loss or corruption".

Microsoft recently released an emergency Windows patch in order to disable Intel's problematic fix for the Spectre Variant 2 attack. In the meantime, I imagine Intel will be pushing out an updated version of its patch later this week. Intel is testing the new update on all processor to ensure that no performance and reboot issues occur in the patched systems. (That's the type of vulnerability that applies to Spectre and Meltdown.) That's KB4073119, and it outlines PowerShell scripts to check vulnerability protections, and registry tweaks to enable or disable them. This update will only disable mitigation against CVE-2017-5715, while keeping the fixes for Meltdown and Spectre variant 1 in place. The company last week publicly admitted the reboot issues in a security update but then buried its separate admission about potential data corruption inside its financial results.

Microsoft only recommends Windows users make use of Intel's patch once the chipmakers has a fully-tested and stable patch for Spectre.

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