Intel betrays US Govt by informing Chinese firms first about Meltdown flaws

30 January, 2018, 01:55 | Author: Bertha Harmon
  • Microsoft Issues Out-of Band Windows Update to Disable Mitigation Against Spectre Variant 2

Microsoft pushed an unscheduled update to its Windows customers that will disable the patch that was supposed to mitigate the Spectre variant 2 (CVE 2017-5715 Branch Target Injection) CPU flaw.

Even before that news emerged, Intel and other technology companies were already under scrutiny for working quietly behind the scenes to resolve the chip-level flaws without notifying the public.

Intel and its partners scrambled to release patches that would fix the severe Meltdown and Spectre security issues unveiled a few weeks ago. Microsoft additionally claimed the Intel fix could, in come cases, cause a loss of data or file corruption.

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Now, with KB4078130, Microsoft has provided a way to disable the Specter update and fix the reboot issue. The update will work on Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, and all versions of Windows 10 for client and server.

In an effort to prevent data loss from Intel's Spectre updates, Microsoft released an out-of-band update which disables Intel's fix for the Variant 2 Spectre attack.

While the Spectre Variant 2 vulnerability has the potential to cause some damage if exploited by enterprising hackers, there are now no known reports of any users impacted by the attack. According to Wall Street Journal's sources, they claim that Intel initially reached out to a handful of customers about the vulnerabilities, including Chinese tech companies like Lenovo and Alibaba, but failed to first reach out to the United States government.

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While Intel Corp has confirmed two security flaws - "Meltdown and "Spectre" - in its chips that were vulnerable to hacking the company's CEO Brian Krzanich has allayed fears of any data breach".

The security experts informed the newspaper that the decision could have enabled the Chinese tech companies to flag the flawed chip to the Beijing, China, thus allowing the Chinese government opportunity to develop them. However, the patch was found to cause some slowdown with Intel processors.

The best way to protect your devices and your data is to stay up to date with security updates.

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"As of January 25, there are no known reports to indicate that this Spectre variant 2 (CVE 2017-5715 ) has been used to attack customers", the support page added. In the meantime, end users, cloud providers and hardware makers are all waiting for Intel.



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