Microsoft says security patches slowing down PCs, servers

Published 10/01/2018 in Cybersecurity, Technology

Microsoft says security patches slowing down PCs, servers
FILE PHOTO: The Microsoft logo is shown on an electric car at the Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) said on Tuesday that software patches released to guard against microchip security threats slowed down some personal computers and servers, with systems running on older Intel Corp (INTC.O) processors seeing a noticeable decrease in performance.

The comments in a blog post were the clearest signal from Microsoft that fixes for flaws in microchips from Intel and rivals described last week could meaningfully degrade performance. The topic is of keen interest to large data center operators, which could incur significant cost increases if computers slow down.

Microsoft also said that security updates froze some computers using chipsets from Intel rival AMD (AMD.O), dragging AMD’s shares down nearly 4 percent.

Shares in Intel, which reiterated on Tuesday that it saw no sign of significant slowdown in computers, fell 2.5 percent taking the loss since the issue surfaced last week to about 7 percent or around $15 billion in market value.

AMD shares have gained nearly 20 percent in the last week as investors speculated that the chipmaker could wrest market share from Intel, whose chips were most exposed to the security flaws.

Security researchers disclosed the flaws on Jan. 3 that affected nearly every modern computing device containing chips from Intel, AMD and ARM Holdings, owned by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T).

ARM Holdings estimated that around 5 percent of more than 120 billion chips its partners have shipped since 1991 was impacted by Spectre. It said the number of chips affected by Meltdown was significantly less.

“ARM will address Spectre in future processors but there will need to be an ongoing discipline in the design of secure systems which needs to be addressed through both software and hardware,” a company spokesman said in an emailed statement.

Intel and AMD have not disclosed the number of chips affected by the security flaws.

Intel said a typical home and business PC user should not see significant slowdowns in common tasks such as reading email, writing a document or accessing digital photos. (AAPL.O) also released an updated version of its operating system software on Monday to fix the security flaw.

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