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Following up on the critical kernel level problem discovered in Intel and ARM CPUs, Microsoft has released a fix for Windows 7,8 and 10.

The hardware level security glitch enables a hacker to compromise your system, while also making it vulnerable to malware attacks.

Kernels in the OS’s have direct access to the whole system, including the processor, RAM, and other hardware. The bug or glitch allows regular software and apps access to protected Kernel memory.

Update for Windows 7,8 and 10

Microsoft responded to this issue by releasing a security update for Windows 10, which should’ve automatically gone live on your computers at 3 AM today. The update will automatically install on older versions of Windows 10 as well as Windows 7 and 8.

However, for Windows 7 and 8, the fix will be available next Tuesday.

Even though Microsoft has released a timely update for this, it also requires firmware updates from Intel and other vendors. Some of the anti-virus software will also require updates to work properly, as the fix fiddles with Kernel-level access.

Will Slow Your PC

What the update does is that it separates Kernel memory from user processes in what’s called “Kernel Page Table Isolation”.

As you may or may not have read yesterday, the update will slow your PC down by quite a lot. Systems that have an Intel Skylake processor or newer won’t be affected much. Older Intel processors might face significant performance hits. in either case, expect a 17% to 23% reduction in your PC’s performance.

Microsoft’s Statement

The company gave an official statement to The Verge saying,

We’re aware of this industry-wide issue and have been working closely with chip manufacturers to develop and test mitigations to protect our customers. We are in the process of deploying mitigations to cloud services and have also released security updates to protect Windows customers against vulnerabilities affecting supported hardware chips from Intel, ARM, and AMD. We have not received any information to indicate that these vulnerabilities had been used to attack our customers.

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