Intel not releasing microcode for some CPUs

Intel has decided that it won’t release microcode updates for certain CPUs to fix the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. Many are Xeon processors. The document in the link mentios Intel’s excuses.

Click here for the list.

Note that if this link becomes bad, change the “04” to the current month. The list gets updated.

 

Intel to release updated microcode going back at least 5 years

To fix the problems associated with the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, Intel will be releasing microcode [i.e. BIOS] updates going back quite far. How far? Initially they said going back to the 4th generation Core processors but now they are planning to go even farther. At least back as far as Core 2 Duo days. Updates will be available from OEMs and not Windows Update.

You can find the announcement here.

[Update 2018/03/05:] Microsoft will slowly be offering microcode update though Windows Update Catalog. One update will cover them all. If your CPU is not supported at the time, it will notify you.

The catch is that the update will not be through Windows Update but through the Windows Update Catalog. So you will have to manually download the update.

[Update 2018/03/16:] Microsoft added more CPUs (6th through 8th generation) now to the update. Updated 8th generation as well as the upcoming 9th generation CPUs will have the fix in addition to other protections, so Intel says.

 

Testing for Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities

Whether or not you like Steve Gibson’s tools [a.k.a. Gibson Research Corporation], he has released a tool here to test for the Spectre & Meltdown Vulnerability.

If you applied an OS patch, the Meltdown test will most likely pass. Spectre, however, will most likely fail until Intel releases firmware/microcode for their CPUs [or manufacturer BIOS updates].

The results of my main computer.

spectre-meltdown

You can run without administrative rights unless you want to disable/enable the protections.

Some directions for Windows computers and the CPU flaw

As you probably know by now, Intel [and to a lesser extent other CPU developers] were hit with a vulnerability that in some cases go back over 20 years.

Most operating system developers have released update or will shortly.

For example, Apple has released updates for their supported hardware. Google will release updates for Android [harder to exploit – surprisingly]. Microsoft has released updates for their operating systems but with a caveat – anti-virus developers must correct their own software first if using some programming code they shouldn’t of.

According to current information at this time, here are the most common anti-virus products and their status:

Avast: Fixed if using version 8 or later.

ESET: Fixed if you check for updates.

Kaspersky: Fix previously released.

McAfee: Expected to use the registry fix found here.

Microsoft: Windows Defender is fixed.

Norton: Fixed.

Panda: Expected to use the registry fix found here.

Symantec: Fixed when checking for updates.

Trend Micro: Can use the registry fix found here.

WebRoot: Expected to use the registry fix found here.

Once the fix is in place, Windows Update should list the January 2018 update.

If your computer is still supported, check for a recent BIOS update as well.

Please note that the information given is as is. I am not responsible for any issues that may arise. Check with the anti-virus vendor first. Failure could result in a BSOD or other issues. If your vendor isn’t listed, go to the vendor’s web site.

[Update 2018/01/11:] If you have VMware Workstation Player or Pro [recent supported versions or any business line versions, you may want to check for updates. If you are receiving updates with your AMD CPU, either you were unaffected or the issue has been fixed.

Some older AMD processors have had the recent OS updates suspended by Microsoft following some blue screen of deaths. Athlon 64 X2 seem to be affected.