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Microsoft will help to distribute Intel’s Spectre-mitigating firmware updates

MICROSOFT HAS ANNOUNCED that it will help distribute Intel’s firmware updates to protect Windows 10 systems against the Spectre CPU vulnerability.

While Microsoft typically leaves it up to OEMs to issue their own firmware updates, the company said on Thursday that it’s planning to list Intel’s Spectre-mitigating updates in its Microsoft Update Catalog. 

“Microsoft continues to work diligently with our industry partners to address the Spectre and Meltdown hardware-based vulnerabilities. Our top priority is clear: Help protect the safety and security of our customers’ devices and data,” Microsoft exec John Cable said in the blog post.

While Intel’s microcode updates also cover Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake machines, along with Broadwell and Haswell processors, Microsoft is only hosting a fix for Skylake systems for now, with the promise that it will deliver “additional microcode updates from Intel as they become available to Microsoft.”

Microsoft hasn’t explained why it’s decided to push out Intel’s microcode, but it’s likely a move designed to help speed up updating process, with many consumers having been waiting for an OEM fix since the Spectre flaw was first disclosed in January.

Microsoft also on Thursday gave an update on the compatibility issues that cropped up between some antivirus apps and its Meltdown/Spectre mitigations, noting that the “vast majority: of AV products can now handle the mitigations without causing any borkage. 

Related: Intel ‘intentionally hid’ Meltdown and Spectre from US cybersecurity officials

However, not all anti-malware products will yet handle the fixes problem-free, with Microsoft noting that it will “continue to require that an AV compatibility check is made before delivering the latest Windows security updates via Windows Update until we have a sufficient level of AV software compatibility,”

“We recommend users check with their AV provider on compatibility of their installed AV software products,” the firm added. µ

Source : Inquirer

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