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AMD provides update on Spectre and Meltdown patches

13 Enero 2018

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. "In particular, we want to thank the Google Project Zero team for practicing responsible disclosure, creating the opportunity for the industry to address these new issues in a coordinated fashion".

The software patch required to fix Meltdown can slow computer processors down by as much as 30 percent, said Alton Kizziah, vice president of global managed services at Kudelski Security.

At the same time, Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich - the focus of an investigation into possible insider trading following the sale of the maximum number of Intel shares permissible by law after the company found out about the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities but before said vulnerabilities were public knowledge - published an open letter on the subject pledging a tighter security focus and increased transparency in the future.

Finally, the Intel CEO highlighted "ongoing security assurance" as the third and final part of the pledge.

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The firm added that workloads that are graphic and compute intensive (such as gaming and financial analysis respectively) will impact performance very minimally.

"We have received reports from a few customers of higher system reboots after applying firmware updates", said Shenoy. Users running HDD drives will see a lessened impact as the bottleneck from the slower drive is greater than the impact of the potential patches.

The real change in AMD's position is with GPZ Variant 2 (Branch Target Injection or Spectre). In an update on AMD processor security, CTO Mark Papermaster confirmed that AMD CPUs are susceptible to the Spectre bug, but the company continues to believe that Meltdown is not applicable. 'Specifically, these systems are running Intel Broadwell and Haswell CPUs for both client and data centre. If these flaws get used in a successful attack, it could lead to a broad range of malware including privilege escalation attacks that could result in compromise to a user's data stored on their device.

AMD will make optional microcode updates available to our customers and partners for Ryzen and EPYC processors starting this week. You understand that price and other data is supplied by sources believed to be reliable, that the calculations herein are made using such data, and that neither such data nor such calculations are guaranteed by these sources, the Company, the information providers or any other person or entity, and may not be complete or accurate. However, safe working updates from Microsoft should resume by next week.

AMD provides update on Spectre and Meltdown patches