Microsoft has rolled out an urgent security update to all supported versions of Windows to help protect against the recently discovered bug found in billions of devices worldwide.
The software update protects devices from the so-called Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities affecting Intel, ARM and AMD chipsets.
On Thursday, Microsoft started automatically rolling out the update to devices running Windows 10.
Microsoft has said that the update will be sent to devices running Windows 7 and Windows 8 on January 9.
While it is good news that Microsoft has already taken steps to help protect against the bug, these new updates only go some way to fixing the issue.
In order for the bug to patched completely Microsoft and other tech companies are waiting on firmware updates from the Intel, AMD and ARM, which are in the process of being rolled out to users.
However, after installing the updates, users running older machines could see a drastic drop in performance.
According to The Register, devices could slow down by as much as 30 percent after installing the updates.
The news comes after tech companies around the world scrambled to patch the security bug.
Apple announced on Friday that it is about to release a patch for its Safari web browser on iPhone, iPad and Mac.
Meanwhile Google has said that Android devices running the very latest security updates are already protected against the flaw.
Of course this does mean that because of the fragmented nature of the Google’s mobile operating system, many millions of devices running older and unsupported versions of Android are not protected, and may never actually receive the security updates required to protect against the threat.
Google has also said it is pushing out a security update to Google Chrome on January 23rd.
FireFox also announced it has released an update to patch the flaw.
Actual details of the security flaws haven’t been made public for fear that hackers may try to compromise devices. There is also no evidence yet to suggest that hackers have used the flaw to carry out an attack.
The only information given so far is that the flaws could enable hackers to steal passwords and other private data.
The advice to users is to make sure your device is kept up to date and install any security or software updates that are released over the coming days.
Meanwhile, Intel which has been the focus of the security flaw issued the following statement:
“Intel and other technology companies have been made aware of new security research describing software analysis methods that, when used for malicious purposes, have the potential to improperly gather sensitive data from computing devices that are operating as designed. Intel believes these exploits do not have the potential to corrupt, modify or delete data.
“Recent reports that these exploits are caused by a ‘bug’ or a ‘flaw’ and are unique to Intel products are incorrect. Based on the analysis to date, many types of computing devices — with many different vendors’ processors and operating systems — are susceptible to these exploits.
“Intel is committed to product and customer security and is working closely with many other technology companies, including AMD, ARM Holdings and several operating system vendors, to develop an industry-wide approach to resolve this issue promptly and constructively.
“Intel has begun providing software and firmware updates to mitigate these exploits. Contrary to some reports, any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time.
“Intel is committed to the industry best practice of responsible disclosure of potential security issues, which is why Intel and other vendors had planned to disclose this issue next week when more software and firmware updates will be available. However, Intel is making this statement today because of the current inaccurate media reports.
“Check with your operating system vendor or system manufacturer and apply any available updates as soon as they are available. Following good security practices that protect against malware in general will also help protect against possible exploitation until updates can be applied.
“Intel believes its products are the most secure in the world and that, with the support of its partners, the current solutions to this issue provide the best possible security for its customers.”
Jonathan is our Google Nexus and Android enthusiast. He is also fanatical about football which makes it all the more strange that he should support Stockport County. In addition to writing about tech, Jonathan has a passion for fitness and nutrition and has previously written for one the UK’s leading watch and horology websites.