Edge and IE get enhanced protection against the latest CPU security bugs

By: Madeleine Dean
2 minute read
CPU security bugs fix

Google’s Project Zero recently revealed that Intel, AMD and ARM CPUs are vulnerable to JavaScript malicious codes running in the browser, which may allow attackers to access computer memory.

Microsoft quickly reacted to this news, rolling out a series of patches to both Windows 7 and Windows 10 aimed specifically at fixing these security vulnerabilities.

The Redmond giant also took additional steps to make sure that Edge and Internet Explorer become bullet proof to such threats.

Edge and IE block Meltdown and Spectre bugs

More specifically, Microsoft made changes to the behavior of supported versions of the Edge and Internet Explorer 11 browsers in order to block the attackers’ ability to successfully read memory through side-channel attacks.

The first step that Microsoft took was to remove support for SharedArrayBuffer and reduce the resolution of the performance.now web API.

The company confirmed that these two changes make it more difficult for attackers to interfere with the content of the CPU cache from a browser process.

Initially, we are removing support for SharedArrayBuffer from Microsoft Edge (originally introduced in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update), and reducing the resolution of performance.now() in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer from 5 microseconds to 20 microseconds, with variable jitter of up to an additional 20 microseconds.

Microsoft will operate more changes in the coming months, as it continues to evaluate the impact of the recent CPU vulnerabilities.

We will re-evaluate SharedArrayBuffer for a future release once we are confident it cannot be used as part of a successful attack.

This recent CPU vulnerability disclosure confirms once again the importance of regularly updating your computer. So, if you haven’t installed the latest Windows updates on your computer yet, go to Settings > Updates & Security > click on the ‘Check for updates’ button and install the available updates.

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