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Microsoft issues emergency Windows patch to undo Intel’s bad Spectre fix

Published Jan 29th, 2018 4:17PM EST
Windows 10 Reboots
Image: Jacob Siegal/BGR

Intel and its partners scrambled to release patches that would fix the severe Meltdown and Spectre security issues unveiled a few weeks ago. But it turned out that the software fixes that should prevent hackers from taking advantage of the newly disclosed chip issues aren’t exactly perfect.

Microsoft has now released an emergency Windows patch that disables Intel’s fix for at least one vulnerability, Spectre.

It’s easy to recognize if you’re one of the affected Windows device users. In case you’ve been experienced unexpected reboots and other issues after downloading and applying the recent security updates, then you’re one of the people who should install the new Windows update.

Detailed at this link, Microsoft’s patch KB4078130 will disable Intel’s mitigation against Spectre variant 2. The fix works on computers running Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

Mind you, disabling Intel’s fix means that you’d be vulnerable to attacks targeting the Spectre variant 2 hardware issue. Microsoft says that, as of January 25th, there are no known reports to indicate that hackers are attacking computers using the vulnerability.

That said, Microsoft’s emergency fix is only temporary. The company recommends that you reinstall or reenable the mitigation once Intel releases an updated fix of its own:

As of January 25, there are no known reports to indicate that this Spectre variant 2 (CVE 2017-5715 ) has been used to attack customers. We recommend Windows customers, when appropriate, reenable the mitigation against CVE-2017-5715 when Intel reports that this unpredictable system behavior has been resolved for your device.

Yes, this all sounds a bit confusing, so make sure you check out Microsoft’s full instructions before going forward.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.