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AMD releases ‘just-in-case’ firmware updates for its processors

AMD HAS become the latest major player to release firmware updates to fix CPU issues caused by Spectre and Meltdown.

As many of our AMD loving readers are keen to remind us (as if we didn’t know) AMD chips are not subject to the same level of risk as Intel, in fact, the company describes it as “near zero”. However, the company is not about to be caught with its pants down and has released some ‘belt and braces’ firmware updates to further reduce the risk.

Ryzen and EPYC will be the first processors to get the firmware update, with older processors to follow. In each case, AMD will supply to OEMs who will then need to make sure they are passed on to the user.

AMD is clear that its processors, including its Radeon GPU range is not affected, because the way their chips operate doesn’t involve speculative execution, and therefore, the problem doesn’t apply, though there is some evidence that Spectre’s newest form could be an issue and AMD isn’t about to get Intel type egg on its face.

We don’t yet know if there’ll be any impact on the performance of the processors after the upgrade, and neither has it been confirmed whether EPYC powered servers will slow down.

If there is, it will be a huge source of frustration for those who would effectively be penalised for fixing a problem that didn’t really have anything to do with them – a bit like when the teacher punishes the whole class for one naughty child.

Mark Papermaster, senior vice president and chief technology officer at AMD said: “We will provide further updates as appropriate on this site as AMD and the industry continue our collaborative work to develop mitigation solutions to protect users from these latest security threats.”

The magnitude of the Meltdown/Spectre debacle is yet to be truly understood. It’s not known how long it will take to patch every chip safely, and in the meantime OEMs, software vendors and anti-virus companies have to carry the burden.

Then, in the final analysis, we’ll have to wait and see just how much the entire internet slows down after patching every processor in the world. That’s anyone’s guess right now. µ

Source : Inquirer

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Founder and Editor-in-Chief of 'Professional Hackers India'. Technology Evangelist, Security Analyst, Cyber Security Expert, PHP Developer and Part time hacker.

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