Microsoft says security patches slowing down PCs, servers

Rick Wilking  Reuters

Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday it had suspended patches to guard against Meltdown and Spectre security threats for some computers running AMD chipsets after complaints by AMD customers that the software updates froze their machines. AMD shares have gained almost 20 per cent in the last week as investors speculated that the chipmaker could wrest market share from Intel, whose chips were most exposed to the security flaws.

"The Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities require adjustment to critical, low-level interfaces in affected operating systems", said Mark Nunnikhoven, vice president of cloud security at Trend Micro.

While the full extent of affected systems is not yet fully known, Cisco Systems has said it has identified 18 vulnerable products and is looking for problems in almost 30 other products, including switches and routers.

Su's comments arrive on the heels of news last week that three groups of researchers, including a group at Google (GOOG, GOOGL), discovered two major security flaws - dubbed Meltdown and Spectre - which hackers could potentially exploit to get their hands on users' private data.

ARM Holdings estimated that around 5 per cent of more than 120 billion chips its partners have shipped since 1991 was impacted by Spectre.

"NVIDIA has no reason to believe that the NVIDIA GPU Display Driver is vulnerable to this (third) variant", Nvidia said, referring to Meltdown.

Most Active Volume Stock: Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)
The total amount of shares outstanding is 4.69 billion, giving the company a market capitalization of about 204.49 billion. Private Advisor Group Ltd Company reported 0.61% of its portfolio in Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN ) for 300 shares.

"We also commit to working with the industry to share hardware innovations that will accelerate industry-level progress in dealing with side-channel attacks", said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich in an open letter to technology industry leaders.

Intel said a typical home and business PC user should not see significant slowdowns in common tasks such as reading email, writing a document or accessing digital photos.

If you have already downloaded the updates and are faced with a PC that doesn't boot, Microsoft also provides troubleshooting instructions for, and.

The tech titan has confirmed the Spectre/Meltdown vulnerability's existence late a year ago, admitting that its latest chips have security holes remote attackers could exploit.

For GPZ Variant 2, AMD says that while its architectures make it "difficult to exploit", it is still working with OS software developers and on issuing a microcode update. We expect this issue to be corrected shortly and Microsoft should resume updates for these older processors by next week. Apple is also planning an update for its computers and promises the slowdown will not be noticeable.

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