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AMD confirms rollout of Spectre patches, says older chips affected more

(Image credit: Image Credit: Majestic B / Shutterstock)

Although AMD initially said that the Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws (opens in new tab) posed no risk to its processors, the company is still rolling out security patches  to protect them from being affected by any future exploits based off Spectre. 

The company's chief technology officer, Mark Papermaster informed users of the steps its taking to protect its processors in a blog post, saying:  

“While we believe that AMD’s processor architectures make it difficult to exploit Variant 2, we continue to work closely with the industry on this threat.  We have defined additional steps through a combination of processor microcode updates and OS patches that we will make available to AMD customers and partners to further mitigate the threat.” 

AMD was able to distance itself from Meltdown and Spectre at first because unlike Intel, its processors are not vulnerable to Meltdown.  However, the company and other vendors are concerned about the potential impact of exploits based around Spectre variant 2 and are preparing firmware updates accordingly. 

Intel (opens in new tab) is currently in the process of patching its processors from over the last five years and the company aims to patch 90 per cent of them by January 15th.  AMD has followed suit and the company is now issuing firmware updates for its own chips.    

Ryzen and EPYC (opens in new tab) owners will receive firmware updates this week while those with older AMD chips will have their chips updated over the coming weeks.  Both chipmakers will provide their firmware updates to PC makers and it will be the responsibility of suppliers to make sure that their customers receive them.  However, AMD has neither confirmed nor denied whether these updates could impact the performance of their chips or slow down servers utilising EPYC processors. 

The company also revealed that its Radeon GPU architecture was not impacted by either of the security flaws.   

Image Credit: Majestic B / Shutterstock

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.