AMD Issues Update to Users About CPU Security - Spectre Still a Threat, More Patches Inbound

Written by Jon Sutton on Fri, Jan 12, 2018 3:37 PM

AMD senior VP and CTO Mark Papermaster has posted a full and frank update on how AMD’s processors may, or may not, be affected by the Spectre and Meltdown CPU security flaws.

“At AMD, security is our top priority and we are continually working to ensure the safety of our users as new risks arise,” says Papermaster, before going on to update users on three specific known exploits.

First of these is Google Project Zero (GPZ) Variant 1 (Bounds Check Bypass, or Spectre). Variant 1 does affect AMD processors, although “believes” that it can be protected against through an OS patch. Depending on your OS, the patches are going to roll out at different times, with the majority of AMD systems now protected in the current version of Windows. A few older CPUs are causing issues though, including the dreaded Blue Screen of Death, and AMD expects fixes for these AMD Opteron, Athlon, and Turion X2 Ultra CPU families to roll out with a week.

GPZ Variant 2 (Branch Target Injection, or Spectre) also affects AMD CPUs. This attack is still a threat, although AMD reckons its processor architecture makes any vulnerabilities tricky to exploit. AMD has defined a series of process microcodes and OS patches that will aim to mitigate this threat, with the first heading out to Ryzen and EPYC owners next week. Users with older CPUs will receive the updates in the following weeks.

Lastly, there’s GPZ Variant 3 (Rogue Data Cache Load, or Meltdown). GPZ 3 does not affect AMD processors whatsoever and is believed to be restricted to Intel CPUs. “We believe AMD processors are not susceptible due to our use of privilege level protections within paging architecture and no mitigation is required.”

So there you have it. It sounds as if AMD is well and truly on top of things here, with two of three security flaws already patched out and third fix to come within a week. All you’ve got to do now is make sure your PC’s up-to-date, including Windows updates and any associated drivers.

You can read Papermaster’s full post for yourself here.

Login or Register to join the debate

Rep
2
Offline
12:18 Jan-13-2018

Any news on how pre-Haswell intel chips are affected by the patches - all the benchmarks I have seen so far are from Haswell and above (with both forms of PCID to mitigate the performance hit) - there are still a lot of us ivybridge and sandy bridge holdouts.

0
Rep
45
Offline
12:25 Jan-13-2018

test your machine before and after patch, because mine is not affected with anything I do(oc) non-overclocked processors are affected abit..

0
Rep
104
Offline
admin approved badge
22:47 Jan-12-2018

You can try to patch around it but the issue will remain. The CPU straight up needs to be able to differentiate what data is or isn't sent to the cache which requires a series of transistors the CPU doesn't have.

0
Rep
45
Offline
21:35 Jan-12-2018

I have not had any slow downs on my processor though, but there is no difference for gaming on my pc..

0
Rep
49
Offline
admin approved badge
16:36 Jan-12-2018

For people who doubted me, i did say that Intel is far worse off then AMD is with Spectre and Meltdown. Seems like AMD "believes" it will get rid of spectre using patches which is good news if true. Intel on the other hand needs an entirely different architecture. So people who thought it affects both equally weren't right.

9
Rep
179
Offline
admin approved badge
17:50 Jan-12-2018

When Fanboism blocks out reality..... yeah Those of us with Intel CPUs are definitely going to suffer more from this than those with AMD CPUs, and that's been the narrative from the beginning..... anyone saying otherwise is lost in some kindof crazy fantasy of denial...... I would have to say though that the doom and gloom aspect of this is largely overhyped, I think the initial performance hit will be mitigated as better solutions are found down the line, bandaide fix or not.

4
Rep
179
Offline
admin approved badge
17:53 Jan-12-2018

Having said that..... I think all of my future CPUs will be AMD from this point on...... if Intel is cutting corners like this just to gain a slight performance edge, then I'd just rather..... not deal with all that.

7
Rep
49
Offline
admin approved badge
19:03 Jan-12-2018

Couldn't have said it better myself, i do agree that it is blown out of proportion but we also know that the majority of people don't use 100% cpu usage at all times so there's that. Also i do believe that servers will have it worse then consumers, especially since there's no known exploit for both "yet" so we need to see how it plays out.

4

Can They Run... |

| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-10700 8-Core 2.90GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Gigabyte D5 2GB 8GB
0% No [1 votes]
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 2070 Gigabyte Windforce 8GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 9 3900X 12-Core 3.8GHz GeForce RTX 3070 EVGA FTW3 Ultra Gaming 8GB 32GB
75% Yes [4 votes]