Security Patches Slowing PCs and Servers Down — Microsoft

A new security bulletin from NVIDIA reveals that GPUs are not immune to the Spectre and Meltdown exploits that affect nearly every modern CPU. "On newer CPUs such as on Skylake and beyond, Intel has refined the instructions used to disable branch speculation to be more specific to indirect branches, reducing the overall performance penalty of the Spectre mitigation", Myerson said. After the patches have been issued for the more recent chips, the processor giant said it will then focus on fixing the older chips. "To prevent AMD customers from getting into an unbootable state, Microsoft will temporarily pause sending the following Windows operating system updates to devices with impacted AMD processors at this time". Microsoft thinks "most users" will notice a decrease in system performance on 2015 and older machines running Windows 7 or Windows 8 or 8.1.

Although AMD initially said that the Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws posed no risk to its processors, the company is still rolling out security patches to protect them from being affected by any future exploits based off Spectre. The company said in a notice Tuesday on its website that it's working with AMD to resolve the problem so people can resume installing the recommended repairs.

Intel, trying to defuse concern that fixes to widespread chip security vulnerabilities will slow computers, released test results late on Wednesday showing that PCs won't be affected much and promised more information on servers.

What are Spectre and Meltdown bugs? The team suggests that users upgrade to Firefox 57.0.4 which shipped recently.

Intel said the overall impact depends on workload, computer configuration and mitigation techniques implemented for which in some cases there are multiple options.

Their statement went on to explain on how they and other technology companies were fully aware of the bugs. However, one of three vulnerabilities uncovered by security researchers applies only to Intel's chips. That's a challenge because the processors were made vulnerable by a feature called speculative execution, which was meant to boost chip performance.

"We believe the performance impact of these updates is highly workload dependent", Krzanich said.

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