Microsoft and Intel still working to fix Speculative Store Bypass CPU bug

By: Costea Lestoc
2 minute read
CPU speculative execution bug

Back in November 2017, Microsoft discovered an issue involving speculative execution bugs. The tech giant has been working for a while together with Intel and PC vendors to fix the problems, but it seems that the bugs simply refuse to drop dead. A new vulnerability called the Speculative Store Bypass (variant 4) is back in the scene to cause more headache to both users and companies.

The issue is reportedly unexploited

A Microsoft representative stated that this issue in untapped so far and the company is still working together with affected chip manufacturers to fix it. It seems that there have already been released defense in-depth mitigations that should address the speculative execution flaws across all Microsoft’s services and products. The company is not aware of any instance of the weakness that could affect Windows or the cloud service infrastructure.

The fix for this issue comes in two parts

For fixing this issue, there’s a software involved and a firmware. According to Intel, the firmware fix could have a 2 to 8% performance impact. In other words, the patch could slow down your PC by 2-8%.

Leslie Culbertson Intel’s security chief says that the system’s performance will be impacted as described above “based on overall scores for benchmarks such as Sysmark 2014 SE and SPEC integer rate on client 1 and server 2 test systems.”

Intel is currently sending out patches to OEM by they are off by default in order to avoid compromising the systems’ performance. Microsoft has already begun rolling out OS level fixes, and the company will continue to do so and deliver more patches.

Redmond says that the company is committed to providing further mitigations to their customers as soon as they become available. The standard policy for issues of low risk such as this one is to offer solutions via Patch Tuesday updates.

Meanwhile, you can protect your computer by installing Bitdefender, one of the best antivirus solutions in the world.

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