Microsoft recently issued a series of updates to address the digital security weaknesses known as Spectre and Meltdown. These two weak points impact nearly every single computer released in the past 23 years. Microsoft rushed the updates after Google publicized the nuances of these two digital vulnerabilities. Microsoft went ahead and released the updates ahead of Patch Tuesday to prevent a public relations backlash. Below, I.T. services experts in Tulsa provide an in-depth look at these updates and what they mean for your business:
The Updates are not a Total Fix
Microsoft’s updates are not a full remedy for Spectre and Meltdown. Certain Windows PCs will require extra computer firmware updates to reduce the impact of Spectre attacks. Thankfully, the software giant’s latest updates seem to completely address the threats posed by Meltdown. If you have any questions about these updates or need assistance with digital security, an I.T. services provider in Tulsa can help you.
Issues with Antivirus Software can Cause the Blue Screen of Death
Antivirus software shortcomings have the potential to result in the dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). Microsoft cautions computer users that Spectre and Meltdown security remedies will prove incompatible with certain antivirus protections. The company performed extensive testing and determined certain third-party applications have made unsupported calls to the kernel memory that is responsible for halting errors, such as the blue screen of death error. These calls have the potential to stop the device from booting up.
In order to halt such errors issued by incompatible antivirus programs, Microsoft is providing security updates for devices with Windows operating systems. This security update will be provided for devices with antivirus software and provided by organizations that have confirmed their software jives with this month’s security update for Windows. Organizations that have not been offered this security update might be running antivirus software that is incompatible. Such organizations should follow up with the software vendor to ensure their computers are protected.
How to Proceed
If your organization’s employees are still using third-party antivirus software, it is imperative that you determine if there has been an update to the antivirus product in order to support Microsoft’s patches. Though there are no indications malevolent groups are using Spectre or Meltdown in attacks, there is the potential for such strikes in the future.
Microsoft recommends Windows users to give antivirus vendors additional time to update their offerings. Once these vendors implement the necessary updates, the Spectre and Meltdown patches will have adequate support. Upon implementation, a custom registry key must be created in the operating system. The purpose of this custom registry key is to permit Windows to download the necessary security fixes. Those who do not want to search the antivirus provider’s website for this information will be happy to know that the antivirus software has been updated with the appropriate Spectre and Meltdown patches if this registry key is present:
Key=”HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE Subkey=”SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\QualityCompat” Value=”cadca5fe-87d3-4b96-b7fb-a231484277cc” Type=”REG_DWORD
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