Windows 10 systems will be updated automatically to patch the processor flaw
Microsoft has issued an update to all supported versions of Windows.
The software update is designed to protect against a processor bug unearthed in Intel, AMD, and ARM chipsets.
Computers running Windows 10 will be updated automatically today.
Windows 7 and Windows 8 users can manually download and install the update now, however, Microsoft will roll-out the update automatically via Windows Update next Tuesday.
The update issued by Microsoft is not enough on its own and relies on firmware updates from Intel, ARM, and AMD.
Thankfully, these are being rolled-out at the moment to most users.
Windows 10 systems with Intel Skylake processors or newer will not see a performance dip
Unfortunately, the fixes could be extremely taxing on some older machines.
According to technology blog The Verge, Intel processors based on Skylake architecture (launched in 2015) or newer should not see any significant drop in performance.
However, older processors could see a dramatic slowdown following the firmware and software updates.
The Register has reported that these updates could slow down some PC models by up to 30 per cent.
The flaw appears to be present in every Intel chipset produced in the last decade, The Register reports.
Kernels in operating systems have complete control over the system.
It is the kernal that connects applications to the processor, memory, and other hardware built into the computer.
Kernels also contain a memory space hidden from user processes and programs that houses password data, login keys, files cached from disk, and so more sensitive data.
Microsoft issued a statement about its latest patch, “We’re aware of this industry-wide issue and have been working closely with chip manufacturers to develop and test mitigations to protect our customers.
“We are in the process of deploying mitigations to cloud services and have also released security updates to protect Windows customers against vulnerabilities affecting supported hardware chips from Intel, ARM, and AMD. We have not received any information to indicate that these vulnerabilities had been used to attack our customers.”
Intel issued the following statement, following the news of the kernel flaw.
“Intel and other technology companies have been made aware of new security research describing software analysis methods that, when used for malicious purposes, have the potential to improperly gather sensitive data from computing devices that are operating as designed. Intel believes these exploits do not have the potential to corrupt, modify or delete data.
“Recent reports that these exploits are caused by a ‘bug’ or a ‘flaw’ and are unique to Intel products are incorrect. Based on the analysis to date, many types of computing devices — with many different vendors’ processors and operating systems — are susceptible to these exploits.
“Intel is committed to product and customer security and is working closely with many other technology companies, including AMD, ARM Holdings and several operating system vendors, to develop an industry-wide approach to resolve this issue promptly and constructively.
“Intel has begun providing software and firmware updates to mitigate these exploits. Contrary to some reports, any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time.
“Intel is committed to the industry best practice of responsible disclosure of potential security issues, which is why Intel and other vendors had planned to disclose this issue next week when more software and firmware updates will be available. However, Intel is making this statement today because of the current inaccurate media reports.
“Check with your operating system vendor or system manufacturer and apply any available updates as soon as they are available. Following good security practices that protect against malware in general will also help protect against possible exploitation until updates can be applied.
“Intel believes its products are the most secure in the world and that, with the support of its partners, the current solutions to this issue provide the best possible security for its customers.”