Ouch! Microsoft's Spectre security update bricks some AMD-powered PCs

10 January, 2018, 02:15 | Author: Harriet Bell
  • Ouch! Microsoft's Spectre security update bricks some AMD-powered PCs

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday said some customers found their AMD-powered computers were unusable after applying the latest security patches for the Windows operating system.

But yesterday AMD said it was aware of an issue with some older-generation processors following the installation of a Microsoft security update that was published over the weekend. If your machine is now in an unbootable state, Microsoft recommends visiting its support site for more information. That documentation was used by Microsoft when developing its security response to the Spectre and Meltdown threats, the company said.

There's no timeline for the release of that fix, but it probably won't be a long turnaround given the threat posed by Meltdown and Spectre.

And Microsoft and AMD are working on the issue, but the fact that an unknown number of PC owners with AMD CPUs are going to have to wait to have their devices protected from the risky bug is incredibly disappointing.

"We (and others in the industry) had learned of this vulnerability under nondisclosure agreement several months ago and immediately began developing engineering mitigations and updating our cloud infrastructure", Microsoft executive Terry Myerson wrote in a blog post.

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"It's definitely not any large volume of processors that are out there".

Microsoft has blocked a number of security updates for some AMD based PCs after discovering that installing updates to combat the Spectre and Meltdown bugs left some devices unable to boot. Intel has gone to great lengths to stress that Spectre and Meltdown are not "unique to any one architecture or processor implementation". What is uncommon is that Microsoft is not merely suspending this update; the company has also outlined why.

The issue was particularly tricky for those running Windows 10 Home, due to the OS not providing a simple way for users to defer updates.

"Yes, it's a security risk, but it's also at the hardware level", Falcon told CRN. "I'm not saying don't patch or address it".

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