Microsoft lobs Skylake Spectre microcode fixes out through its Windows

Microsoft lobs Skylake Spectre microcode fixes out through its Windows

Most probably, the Meltdown attacks are due to a vulnerability tracked as CVE-2017-5754, and the Spectre attacks are a combination of CVE-2017-5753 (Variant 1) and CVE-2017-5715 (Variant 2).

What isn't clear is whether Microsoft will also push out Intel's microcode via Windows Update, its usual distribution mechanism for supplying patches.

The semiconductor manufacturing company also asked their customers to wait for further announcements regarding developments on the firmware updates.

The company is releasing Intel microcode updates that will initially be available for some Skylake devices running the latest Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. According to their microcode revision guidance, Broadwell and Haswell CPUs are ready to receive the patch for Spectre and Meltdown. Microsoft says it is now distributing those updates via the Microsoft Update Catalog.

Since these microcode updates aren't being shipped through Windows Update, they need to be downloaded manually from the Microsoft Update Catalog. Previous updates had covered only 64-bit versions of Windows 10. Microsoft is working with Intel and the software giant will be rolling out the security updates to more devices with different chipsets in the future.

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Windows devices need both software and firmware updates to help protect them against these new vulnerabilities.

If you've been anxious about receiving Spectre and Meltdown BIOS patches for the PC you built yourself, there may be a solution: Microsoft has begun supplying them itself via an archive on its site.

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. Attempting to install the update on a device with an unsupported CPU results in an error message. We will update this documentation when new mitigations become available.

"We recommend that OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors and end users stop deployment of current versions, as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior", Navin Shenoy, Executive VP and GM for Intel's Data Center Group, said at the time.

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