AMD rolls out Spectre Variant 2 mitigation updates along with Microsoft's Tuesday Patch
AMD, the second-largest maker of microprocessors for PCs after Intel, has been affected by the biggest ever CPU flaws, known as Spectre and Meltdown. While none of the AMD's processors are vulnerable to Meltdown, each of them can be exploited due to Spectre (CVE-2017-5753) and Spectre Variant 2 (CVE-2017-5715).
To mitigate the vulnerability, AMD rolled out a microcode update to its original equipment manufacturing (OEM) partners. The update is oriented to Spectre variant 2 for attack prevention on Windows 10 systems.
Today, AMD is providing updates regarding our recommended mitigations for Google Project Zero (GPZ) Variant 2 (Spectre) for Microsoft Windows users. These mitigations require a combination of processor microcode updates from our OEM and motherboard partners, as well as running the current and fully up-to-date version of Windows.
Windows users are urged to install Windows 10 update KB4093112
Spectre and Meltdown release by Google Project Zero researchers wrecked real havoc among companies manufacturing, employing or both Intel and AMD processors. Much has already been done to patch these vulnerabilities until they did not cause severe damage.
The problem is that Microsoft updates for CPU flaws are not that easy to roll out. Usually, microcode updates are released by chipmakers to OEMs and PC. However, the mainstream publishing is executed only after OEM testing and approval.
Therefore, PC users should follow Spectre and Meltdown news and actively participate in the patching process. The participation is rather simple – turn on automatic Windows update service and regularly check for updates.
Spectre and Meltdown patching consist of the two-step process – application of firmware updates to chipsets and installation of updates for OS. While Specre variant 1 updates have already been issued back in January, the fresh security update rolled out on April 10, 2018, has brought about a fix for Spectre variant 2. Thus, to apply the patch, make sure to download KB4093112 using automatic Windows update service or Knowledge Base manually.
AMD says Spectre Variant 2 is difficult to exploit
AMD's names its mitigation against Variant 2 on AMD processors as Indirect Branch Prediction Barrier (IBPB) and claims that the changes for hackers to exploit the vulnerability are extremely low, though possible.
While we believe it is difficult to exploit Variant 2 on AMD processors, we actively worked with our customers and partners to deploy [a] combination of operating system patches and microcode updates for AMD processors to further mitigate the risk.
Nevertheless, the company predicts the possibility of the attacks and does its best to prevent them.
Experts noticed a lack of information for those running older hardware before Bulldozer line. According to AMD, the exploit of Spectre Variant 2 is extremely low, and it's not very likely to affect versions older than a decade.