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Microsoft to Windows users: Here are new critical Intel security updates for Spectre v2

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Video: AMD and Microsoft join forces to block Spectre attacks.

Microsoft has released new Windows updates that include Intel hardware fixes to address the Spectre variant 2 CPU flaw.

Microsoft this week published on the Microsoft Update Catalog KB4078407[1] and KB4091666[2], respectively a software update for Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016, and an update targeting Intel machines that includes the chip-maker's microcode updates.

The two updates address Spectre Variant 2 CVE-2017-5715, known as a branch target injection vulnerability disclosed by Google researchers in January.

Of all three variants that constitute Meltdown and Spectre, variant 2, which only affects Intel chips, has been the most problematic.

Intel halted the rollout of its initial microcode updates after it was found they caused unexpected reboots. Intel last month[3] completed re-releasing microcode mitigations for the Spectre variant 2 flaw in all CPUs ever released over the past nine years.

While hardware manufacturers were meant to release Intel's updates, Microsoft in March[4] began releasing them, starting with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, version 1709, on devices with specific 6th Generation Intel Core and Core m processors: Skylake H/S (CPUID 506E3) and Skylake U/Y and U23e (CPUID 406E3).

See more: IT pro's guide to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (free PDF)[5]

Microsoft recommends[6] users check with their device manufacturer before installing KB4078407.

The KB4091666 Windows Update brings Intel's microcode updates to more families of Intel CPUs than the initial March update KB4090007[7]. The newer update covers Intel Core, Pentium, Celeron, and Xeon processors from Skylake, Broadwell, and Haswell CPUs.

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