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AMD Processor Security Updates

Overview

At AMD, security is a top priority and we are continually working to ensure the safety of our users as new risks arise. Recent public disclosures have brought to the forefront the constant need to protect and secure data.

This site is a centralized location for the latest security-related updates as they relate to AMD.

Updates

“Speculative Store Bypass” Vulnerability Mitigations for AMD Platforms

5/21/18

Today, Microsoft and Google Project Zero researchers have identified a new category of speculative execution side channel vulnerability (Speculative Store Bypass or SSB) that is closely related to the previously disclosed GPZ/Spectre variant 1 vulnerabilities.  Microsoft has released an advisory on the vulnerability and mitigation plans. 

AMD recommended mitigations for SSB are being provided by operating system updates back to the Family 15 processors (“Bulldozer” products). For technical details, please see the AMD whitepaper. Microsoft is completing final testing and validation of AMD-specific updates for Windows client and server operating systems, which are expected to be released through their standard update process.  Similarly, Linux distributors are developing operating system updates for SSB. AMD recommends checking with your OS provider for specific guidance on schedules.

Based on the difficulty to exploit the vulnerability, AMD and our ecosystem partners currently recommend using the default setting that maintains support for memory disambiguation.

We have not identified any AMD x86 products susceptible to the Variant 3a vulnerability in our analysis to-date.

As a reminder, security best practices of keeping your operating system and BIOS up-to-date, utilizing safe computer practices and running antivirus software are always the first line of defense in maintaining device security.

 

Spectre Mitigation Update

4/10/18  (Updated 5/8/18 to reflect Microsoft release of Windows Server 2016)

Today, AMD is providing updates regarding our recommended mitigations for Google Project Zero (GPZ) Variant 2 (Spectre) for Microsoft Windows users. These mitigations require a combination of processor microcode updates from our OEM and motherboard partners, as well as running the current and fully up-to-date version of Windows. For Linux users, AMD recommended mitigations for GPZ Variant 2 were made available to our Linux partners and have been released to distribution earlier this year.

As a reminder, GPZ Variant 1 (Spectre) mitigation is provided through operating system updates that were made available previously by AMD ecosystem partners. GPZ Variant 3 (Meltdown) does not apply to AMD because of our processor design. 

While we believe it is difficult to exploit Variant 2 on AMD processors, we actively worked with our customers and partners to deploy the above described combination of operating system patches and microcode updates for AMD processors to further mitigate the risk. A whitepaper detailing the AMD recommended mitigation for Windows is available, as well as links to ecosystem resources for the latest updates. 

 

Operating System Updates for GPZ Variant 2/Spectre

Microsoft is releasing an operating system update containing Variant 2 (Spectre) mitigations for AMD users running Windows 10 (version 1709) today. Support for these mitigations for AMD processors in Windows Server 2016 is expected to be available following final validation and testing. (Note: May 8, 2018 Microsoft released an operating system update for Windows Server 2016.)

 

AMD Microcode Updates for GPZ Variant 2/Spectre

In addition, microcode updates with our recommended mitigations addressing Variant 2 (Spectre) have been released to our customers and ecosystem partners for AMD processors dating back to the first “Bulldozer” core products introduced in 2011. 

AMD customers will be able to install the microcode by downloading BIOS updates provided by PC and server manufacturers and motherboard providers.  Please check with your provider for the latest updates.

We will provide further updates as appropriate on this site as AMD and the industry continue our collaborative work to develop solutions to protect users from security threats.

 

Mark Papermaster, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer

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