AMD and Microsoft both release patches to protect against Spectre

AMD has provided an updated overview of what it's doing to protect customers from Spectre, saying there's a new patch included in Microsoft's recent Patch Tuesday roll out. Users should also be on the lookout for updated BIOS releases.

With regards to the latter, AMD said it is providing microcode updates to its OEM and hardware partners, with mitigations addressing Variant 2 (Spectre) for processors dating back to the first Bulldozer chips introduced in 2011.

"AMD customers will be able to install the microcode by downloading BIOS updates provided by PC and server manufacturers and motherboard providers. Please check with your provider for the latest updates," AMD said.

The trickier part is getting motherboard makers to actually utilize the updated microcode and dish out BIOS updates for older platforms. While users should probably expect new firmware releases in the coming weeks for Ryzen and Threadripper machines, motherboard makers might not be so quick to issue BIOS updates for motherboards released several years ago.

This isn't an issue that's specific to AMD. I've seen the same thing in regards to Intel, including a Haswell machine I have running at home—it's running on a Gigabyte motherboard that hasn't seen a BIOS update since 2015.

Regardless, the microcode is available. As for Variant 1 (also Spectre), AMD says mitigation was already provided through OS updates that were previously made available by its ecosystem partners. And as for Variant 3 (Meltdown), it doesn't affect AMD processors.

Outside of keeping your eyes peeled for updated firmware, if you haven't installed yesterday's Patch Tuesday update from Microsoft, you should go ahead and do that. It contains a patch that addresses Spectre on AMD platforms, among other fixes and improvements.

All that said, AMD doubled down on its previous stance that exploiting Spectre on its processors is "difficult," but plans to continue monitoring the situation and issuing updates as needed.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).