Microsoft issues emergency Windows update against processor security bugs.

Microsoft is rolling out a rare out-of-band security update to supported versions of Windows. The update is part of a number of fixes that will protect against a newly-discovered bug in Intel, AMD and ARM chipsets. Sources say that Microsoft will issue a Windows update that will be automatically applied to Windows 10 machines at 5PM ET / 2PM PT today.

Microsoft confirmed the Windows update in a statement saying:

We’re aware of this industry-wide issue and have been working closely with chip manufacturers to develop and test mitigations to protect our customers. We are in the process of deploying mitigations to cloud services and have also released security updates to protect Windows customers against vulnerabilities affecting supported hardware chips from Intel, ARM, and AMD. We have not received any information to indicate that these vulnerabilities had been used to attack our customers.

The update will also be available for older and supported versions of Windows, but systems running operating systems like Windows 7 or Windows 8 won’t automatically be updated through Windows Update until next Tuesday.

While Microsoft is swift at addressing the issues, the fixes will also rely on firmware updates from Intel, AMD, or other vendors that are being issued out. Certain anti-virus vendors will also need to update their software to work correctly with the new patches, as the changes are related to Kernel-level access.

The firmware updates and software patches may cause some systems to run slower. Sources confirm that Intel processors that are based on Skylake or newer architecture won’t see significant performance degradation. However, older processors could slow down more significantly due to the firmware and software updates.

However, Intel says any slowdowns will be “workload-dependent,” although they have not elaborated on how this will affect older machines. Microsoft is also planning to update its cloud-based servers with the latest firmware and software patches, and these updates are beginning to roll out.


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