Microsoft Weekly: Fixing flaws, Cortana crisis, and Windows watching

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Security experts say all organizations should put mitigations in place as soon as possible, preferably starting with browsers, since attackers could use malicious websites to try and exploit the flaws. Microsoft was quick to issue an emergency fix for Windows PCs, but it now appears that the patch is causing grief for some AMD-based PCs.

Unless the antivirus vendor has set a Windows registry key that provides compatibility with the update, users of the affected Windows platform will not be protected by the security updates. "Google Cloud is architected in a manner that enables us to update the environment while providing operational continuity for our customers", wrote Google executives in a January 5 blog post.

Pixabay/geraltMicrosot has issued emergency updates to protect Windows 10 users from the "Meltdown" security flaw. Between software patches and the differences in AMD's microarchitectures compared to its rivals, the company's chips are largely immune to the so-called "speculative execution" vulnerabilities, AMD claimed.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In addition, some anti-virus vendors will also need to update their software so that it functions correctly with the new patches (this is because the changes relate to Kernel-level access).

According to The Register, devices could slow down by as much as 30 percent after installing the updates.

Microsoft also issued a statement about the processor exploits stating that the company has released "security updates to protect Windows customers against vulnerabilities affecting supported hardware chips from Intel, ARM, and AMD". Others say their systems have frozen even though they're running only Windows Defender, which is anti-virus software installed by default in Windows if no other anti-virus software has been installed.

In order for the bug to patched completely Microsoft and other tech companies are waiting on firmware updates from the Intel, AMD and ARM, which are in the process of being rolled out to users.

Doing so will download the Windows 10 Upgrade tool and you can run this and follow the instructions to upgrade a Windows 7 or 8.1 device to the latest version of Windows.

Unfortunately, it appears that the real world application of Cortana is having a bad week as well.

Intriguingly, in AMD's response to Google Project Zero's findings, the chip maker downplayed the effects of the Meltdown and Spectre flaws on its processors.

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