Meltdown and Spectre Aftermath: Where Microsoft Stands

Technology shows no signs of slowing down. It is imperative that we take necessary steps to come up with long-term IT strategy. Meltdown and Spectre bugs have taken IT professionals by surprise. While experts still devise some strategies to build stronger walls against flaws and bugs, this severe memory-isolation flaw revealed critical mechanisms, used to be hidden in plain sight.

Processors isolate applications from the operating system.  It also requires permission for operations to run.  Unfortunately, Meltdown breaks the isolation causing systems to bypass the essential process. This results in allowing programs to access the memory and even sensitive data.

Meltdown and Spectre-The Devices Affected

The bugs affect devices such as mobile phones, laptops and high-end cloud servers with the exception of pre-2013 Itanium and Atom processors. Spectre inflicts that same memory-isolation flaw, which renders Intel processors, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Arm defective useless until you install updates. Hence, it becomes a bane to processors.

It is challenging to exploit Spectre let alone mitigating it. Microsoft is already aware of this issue. In fact,  they are already brainstorming with chip manufacturers to develop and even test mitigations.  Microsoft released its updates on January 3.  It also expects Windows updates at a later date.

These versions protect customers against vulnerabilities.  Windows 10 users can also take advantage of Microsoft’s emergency patch. The emergency patch is available through Windows Update.

The next step that IT professionals will take is to find a solution to prevent the bugs from posing a widespread risk. IT professionals also roll out firmware and software upgrades to address concerns about performance.  Mitigation can cause devices to slow down, but it will not be significant for the average computer user.

AMD considers updating their software and improving chip architectures as solutions to processor flaws. Arm shows that bugs do not affect processor designs.

They also believe that practising good security hygiene such as avoiding suspicious downloads or links and updating software regularly can protect machines against vulnerabilities.