AMD vs Spectre: Our new Zen 2 chips will be protected, says CEO

Forthcoming Zen 2 processors will include changes to deal with Spectre-like exploits, says chip giant.
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

Video: Fake Meltdown-Spectre patch emails hiding Smoke Loader malware

AMD has said it has made changes to its forthcoming Zen 2 chips to protect them against Spectre-style flaws.

Spectre and Meltdown are flaws that have been discovered in the fundamental design of many chips, and which could allow attackers to steal data. Since the flaws were revealed, the tech industry has been scrambling to fix them, with mixed results.

AMD's chips are not believed to be affected by Meltdown, which only applies to Intel, Apple, and one type of Arm-based processors, but its chips are vulnerable to Spectre.

Speaking as the company announced its fourth quarter results, AMD's CEO Lisa Su, gave an update on the steps the company has taken to deal with the two variants of the Spectre flaw.

"For Spectre Variant 1, we continue actively working with our ecosystem partners on mitigations, including operating system patches that have begun to roll out," said Su.

She added that AMD continues to believe that variant 2 of Spectre is difficult to exploit on its processors but added that it is "deploying CPU microcode patches -- in combination with OS updates ― to provide additional mitigation steps".

"Longer term, we have included changes in our future processor cores, starting with our Zen 2 design, to further address potential Spectre-like exploits," she said. Zen 2 is the next generation of AMD X86 processors, based on 7nm technology and due to arrive in 2019.

Previous and related coverage

Meltdown-Spectre: Why were flaws kept secret from industry, demand lawmakers

Great work on patching your own products, but why were smaller tech companies kept in the dark?

Spectre flaw: Dell and HP pull Intel's buggy patch, new BIOS updates coming

Dell and HP have pulled Intel's firmware patches for the Spectre attack.

Windows 10 Meltdown-Spectre patch: New updates bring fix for unbootable AMD PCs

AMD PCs can now install Microsoft's Windows update with fixes for Meltdown and Spectre and the bug that caused boot problems.

26% of organizations haven't yet received Windows Meltdown and Spectre patches(Tech Republic)

Roughly a week after the update was released, many machines still lack the fix for the critical CPU vulnerabilities.

Bad news: A Spectre-like flaw will probably happen again (CNET)

Our devices may never truly be secure, says the CEO of the company that designs the heart of most mobile chips.

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