Microsoft pauses Meltdown and Spectre fixes for AMD chips

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Update reportedly puts devices into 'unbootable state'

Microsoft has suspended a Windows update for AMD computer chips that is designed to protect them from cyber attack.

In a posting on its support site, Microsoft says it has heard from some customers who report their AMD-powered devices won't boot up after installing the updates, designed to protect against the chipset vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown.

"After investigating, Microsoft has determined that some AMD chipsets do not conform to the documentation previously provided to Microsoft to develop the Windows operating system mitigations to protect against the chipset vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown," the company said in its post.

Until the problem is resolved, Microsoft said it will pause the following updates:

  • January 3, 2018—KB4056897 (Security-only update)

  • January 9, 2018—KB4056894 (Monthly Rollup)

  • January 3, 2018—KB4056888 (OS Build 10586.1356)

  • January 3, 2018—KB4056892 (OS Build 16299.192)

  • January 3, 2018—KB4056890 (OS Build 14393.2007)

  • January 3, 2018—KB4056898 (Security-only update)

  • January 3, 2018—KB4056893 (OS Build 10240.17735)

  • January 9, 2018—KB4056895 (Monthly Rollup)

Renewed concerns

The update snag could raise concerns about the newly-revealed security gap that can affect chips from Intel, ARM Holdings, and AMD. Experts say the vulnerability stems from "speculative execution," which allows PCs to run faster and more efficiently. The vulnerability reportedly can allow hackers to see sensitive information stored in an operating system.

As we previously reported, Meltdown and Spectre can allow hackers to access users’ personal data, but they differ in how they actually go about accomplishing that task. Meltdown affects Intel chips, along with certain high-end microprocessors produced by ARM.

Hackers reportedly are able to access the kernel memory areas found in users’ devices that store personal information such as passwords, log-in information, and cached files.

The Spectre flaw may affect all microprocessors currently on the market – including those made by Intel, ARM, and AMD.

Microsoft said it is working with AMD to resolve the latest issue and will resume Windows OS security updates to the affected AMD devices as soon as possible.

ConsumerAffairs has reached out to AMD for comment but has not yet received a reply.

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