Microsoft is Helping Intel Distribute its Firmware Updates

Posted on March 1, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Microsoft, Windows 10 with 21 Comments

Intel: Updates Will Make Chips "Immune" From New Security Vulnerabilities

Meltdown and Spectre have been two of the decade’s most talked about security vulnerabilities. There’s been so much news around these two security flaws, it’s almost getting impossible to keep track of all the latest updates. Intel, as one of the world’s largest chip makers, has been at the centre of all these updates. The company issued the first set of functional firmware updates for its affected systems last month.

And today, Microsoft is helping Intel roll out these firmware updates to their customers. Redmond has started deploying the functional microcode updates from Intel to Windows 10 Fall Creators Update machines with Skylake processors through the Microsoft Update Catalog today. It’s important to note that these updates aren’t automatically available via Windows Update and users would need to manually update their systems for now. Plus, the company is only issuing fixes for Skylake systems running the latest version of Windows 10, though it says it will continue to release patches for other systems as they become available from Intel.

“We continue to work with industry partners on further mitigations and tools to help protect against the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. As always, we emphasize the importance of keeping your devices up to date for both Windows security and feature updates. Windows 10 version 1709, the Fall Creators Update, is the most secure version of Windows and is fully available for all devices,” the company said in a blog post.

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Comments (21)

21 responses to “Microsoft is Helping Intel Distribute its Firmware Updates”

  1. Stooks

    My prediction is this won't end well.

    I am glad my only Windows PC is a gaming desktop with a Ryzen/AMD chipset. If AMD goes this route it will be a Linux box real quick.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to Stooks:

      What are you talking about? AMD issues these patches just like Intel does. Microsoft will update them both just like Linux does. Why do you think Linus was so upset?

    • Martin Pelletier

      In reply to Stooks:

      It will since we still have no Spectre fix for AMD system. I keep using InSpectre after each bios update from my board maker. And I still see that I am vulnerable to Spectre bug. It is false to think that my AMD is protected at the moment.

      I don't know what they are waiting for. Intel did screw up, but they are in the way to really fix it before AMD.

  2. Siv

    I would be very cautious about applying any updates from MS or Intel after the fiascos both companies made in January and February. KB407588 effectively bricking PCs by disabling the keyboard and mouse drivers and Intel's patches literally bricking PCs with AMD processors. I appreciate the attempts to protect their customers but if they brick your PC then you'd have been better leaving the patches and taking the risk you might never get hit by the malware.

    I am really concerned that both companies have lost the ability to do proper testing.

  3. Vic116

    So what happens if you install Microsoft's firmware update and your PC vendor's BIOS update with the same firmware changes that addresses the same issue? Hopefully the microcode is exactly the same and nothing bad happens.

  4. Waethorn

    I think the reason for the manual install is because anybody can edit the registry keys that antivirus software is supposed to, in order for the patches to be installable. There are no real security checks for that. It's a piss-poor implementation IMO.

    A piece of malware could easily check to see if the reg key is not marked to enable support of the update, then enable it anyway, and download the update to bork the computer. This is a lack of security in a security check for a security update. Only Microsoft would screw this up this badly.

  5. StevenLayton

    How would a normal user know a update was available? Does Windows prompt them one is available and point them in the right direction?

    • StevenLayton

      In reply to StevenLayton:lol, which numpty downvoted me for asking a sensible question? Gotta love the Internet!

      still don’t understand how a normal user knows how to download it, or even that they need it. Mention Spectre or Meltdown to my Mum, she assumes I’m talking James Bond!

  6. Username

    Unfortunately, the vulnerability remediation Windows updates aren’t benign.

    I’ve lost ability to start my Total Media Theatre v5 since the updates. It was perfectly good software Blu-Ray player from a company that had since dropped the product so now unsuppoted.

  7. harmjr

    This seems like a no brainier. Why hasn't MS been doing this all along? BTW MS dont give me no BS. Patch all systems. Help Intel, AMD and the hardware makers. This is what you should be doing with your time then adding new freaking features like Timelines and Tab Programs...

    • peterh_oz

      In reply to harmjr:

      Read again :

      Microsoft "will continue to release patches for other systems as they become available from Intel"

      They can't release something that doesn't exist.

  8. jlmerrill

    Is i5-5200 a 5th generation?

  9. Winner

    Well given that the only automatic updating across most Intel machines is Windows Update, that kind of makes obvious sense.

  10. Dorm

    What happens if my PC is not an OEM machine and I built it?

    How am I expected to get these update automatically? (beside getting it through the catalog)