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Microsoft Releases Mitigations for Spectre-Like 'Variant 4' Attack

Updates released by Microsoft on Tuesday for its Windows operating system add support for a feature that should prevent attacks involving the recently disclosed speculative execution vulnerability known as “Variant 4.”

Researchers from several organizations warned in January that processors from Intel, AMD, ARM and other companies are affected by vulnerabilities that allow malicious applications to bypass memory isolation mechanisms and gain access to sensitive data. The flaws are tracked as Spectre (Variant 1 - CVE-2017-5753 and Variant 2 - CVE-2017-5715) and Meltdown (Variant 3 - CVE-2017-5754).

Last month, Intel, AMD, ARM, IBM, Microsoft and other major tech companies released updates, mitigations and advisories for two new variants of the speculative execution attack methods, namely Variant 3a and Variant 4.

Variant 4, which is similar to Spectre Variant 1, relies on a side-channel vulnerability known as Speculative Store Bypass (SSB) and it has been assigned the...(continued)

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