Meltdown and Spectre: Now Microsoft blocks security updates for some AMD based devices


Microsoft has blocked a number of security updates for some AMD based PCs after discovering that installing updates to combat the Spectre and Meltdown bugs left some devices unable to boot.

Windows 10 on AMD? This new update plus Microsoft's patch block Spectre attacks


Video: Intel says it can't protect all chips vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre Chipmaker AMD has released new microcode updates to mitigate the Spectre variant 2 side-channel attack, which Microsoft has supported with a Windows 10 patch for AMD systems. AMD's latest microcode update coincided with Microsoft's April Patch Tuesday fixes and comes just weeks after Intel wrapped up its Spectre 2 mitigations for all CPU families released over the past nine years. AMD's chief mitigation for its chips on Windows affected by variant 2 CPU indirect branch target injections is called'indirect branch prediction barrier' (IBPB), which is only intended for cases when software switches from one user context to a context that should be protected. AMD's whitepaper on the Meltdown and Spectre attacks advises against two other Spectre variant 2 mitigations for Windows and Linux on AMD known as Indirect Branch Restricted Speculation (IBRS) and Single Thread Indirect Branch Predictor (STIBP). This context switching restriction is why Windows 10 users are being urged to install Microsoft's latest Windows 10 update KB4093112, which contains a supporting update for Windows 10 that limits ARM's IBPB to when software switches from user context to kernel context.

Roli Blocks are fun for music making but need some fine-tuning


I've played instruments for most of my life, but as I've gotten older I've had less time for jamming with bands. That's led me to consider dabbling in electronic instruments that would let me make my own compositions without needing to wrangle other musicians. Of course, both hardware and software can add up fast. That's why Roli's new modular Blocks system caught my eye. The $180 Lightpad controller is both affordable and versatile, distilling a lot of the touch-sensitive technology found in Roli's larger Seaboard into a super-compact gadget.

Windows 7 problems: Microsoft blocks April updates to systems at risk of freezing


Microsoft has blocked this week's monthly and security-only Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 updates for Sophos antivirus users after widespread reports that computers failed to boot after installing them. The updates caused dire problems for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 systems running Sophos Endpoint Security and Control and Sophos Central Endpoint Standard/Advanced. The same issues affect their corresponding Server versions, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012. "Microsoft and Sophos have identified an issue on devices with Sophos Endpoint Protection installed and managed by either Sophos Central or Sophos Enterprise Console (SEC) that may cause the system to freeze or hang upon restart after installing this update," Microsoft said in an update on Thursday morning, European time. Sophos has warned customers against installing these updates if they have not done so already.

Firefox's Quantum update will block websites from tracking you 24/7


Mozilla's speedy Firefox Quantum browser hit the ground running when it rolled out in November.