Cybersecurity

AMD Patches Spectre Vulnerability

On April 10, 2018 AMD’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Mark Papermaster announced that the company has released patches for the Spectre (Variant 2) vulnerability. This patch requires both “microcode updates from original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and motherboard partners” and a fully updated version of Windows. These fixes cover AMD processors dating “to the first ‘Bulldozer’ core products” that were introduced by the company in 2011.

AMD Processors

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To get the processor microcode updates, visit either the OEM or motherboard manufacturer to download a BIOS update. To accommodate the latter, AMD pushed these updates alongside Microsoft’s April “Patch Tuesday” release (version 1709), available here.

In the security update, Papermaster reminds end users that AMD has already released patches for Variant 1 of the Spectre vulnerability, and that AMD processors were never affected by the simultaneously discovered Meltdown flaw.

Papermaster also asserts that “difficult to exploit Variant 2 on AMD processors” as the vulnerability requires administrative privileges to execute. However, if your systems are running Windows on AMD hardware, be sure to follow through with these updates if you haven’t already.

These updates have no effect on the Masterkey, Ryzenfall, Fallout, and Chimera vulnerabilities discovered by cybersecurity researchers CTS Labs earlier this year. These flaws were introduced with the previous patch that fixed the Variant 1 Spectre exploit. With any luck, we’ll be hearing back on those repairs soon.