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exile360

FINALLY updated my CPU Microcode (no thanks to MS or my notebook vendor)

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Errr.... that was your *first* PC?  :o

Mine was a TI-99 4/A (I was ... 9?).  And then A Tandy 1000 EX (my formative pre-teen and teen years).  And then a Gateway 2000 486SX/25 with 8 MB RAM and a 425 MB HD (my late teen years and early college years)....;)

The first I built was a Cyrix 486 DX2/80 machine, 64 MB RAM (maxed) and the 425 Conner HD paired with another Conner, an 850 MB, to which I later added a 3.1 GB HD....Oh, and 2 SLId Diamond graphics accelerators.... :P

I keep my machines for a long time, and usually upgrade components piecemeal.  I have an nVidia GTX 970 for a video card in here, as well as a 1 TB Sandisk SSD for my primary system drive and a Corsair 256 GB SSD for my \Users tree, both SATA III, and I have decent monitors, a Blu-Ray burner, and a great 12 year old Bother printer and dozens of other accessories and peripherals that I don't need to upgrade.  But, replacing my CPU and mobo and RAM is gonna be costly enough that I keep putting it off.

*Sigh*  time to start shopping.

And want to know what is really weird?  Another user at 10 forums recently installed the same Skip Ahead preview build I have running right now, and his Core i7 920 is registering as protected fully from Spectre and meltdown via InSpectre....We've got a discussion going on over there because something is not adding up about the way Intel assigned CPUIDs in general, as his processor and mine are the exact same family, architecture and socket type, but processors newer than mine (such as the 975 EE and the 980 EE) supposedly have the same CPUID as his....

Intel is maknig my head spin, and at this point, for the first time in my life, ever, I'm contemplating a machine built around an AMD CPU.

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Yep, that was my first PC.  Before that other family members had devices and there were computers I used at school like some old Commodore 64s and IBMs running Windows 3.1 etc. as well as friends who had desktops and laptops running various iterations of Windows.  I also lived with my brother for a time in my youth and he had a machine running 98 and later ME and eventually a system running XP.  I'd tinker with things after getting bored playing games (and he'd always make me change the theme back to "normal" after I got finished making it look "cool" :P ) but that Alienware rig, which was an old display model at Best Buy where I was working at the time was my very first computer that I owned.  I took it apart, put it back together, did tons of upgrades to various components and eventually started building systems of my own as well as for friends.  Any time something would break or wasn't working correctly I'd figure out how to fix it on my own.  These days I prefer the laptop form factor so I've been getting stuff from Eurocom because of the options they offer (essentially high-end desktop replacements in an average sized laptop form factor (in other words, 15.6" instead of 17"+ like most other laptop vendors).

That's odd about your CPU.  It must have to do with some difference beyond the specs, as I'm guessing Intel is probably naming chips based on their performance and maybe the other guy has a chip with some newer component or process to it that yours lacks that makes his different somehow, unless they're looking at motherboards/chipsets too, which I don't see why they would but you never know I guess.

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Well, more good news.  I just came across this article, so it seems MS has already patched up IE 11 (my browser) to stand up against these exploits/attacks, regardless of my microcode, and since that's my primary browser, and my browser of choice when doing any kind of web travelling which might be considered "less than secure" (because frankly, IE is way more hardened than it used to be, less targeted due to shrinking market share, and I can do more to secure it personally than I can my other browsers SRWare Iron, Chrome and Firefox).

I'm still anxious to see if the Malwarebytes Developers will ever be able to provide a more robust/universal solution to harden systems against these attacks through new additions to the Anti-Exploit/Exploit Protection component, but for now at least I feel pretty good about things.

Now if I could just get KB4093118 to stay installed (refer to the comments section; I share their pain) I'd be all set.  It seems it's another of those patches which, at least on some systems, won't stop showing up in Windows Update no matter how many times or how many different ways you attempt to install it.  It usually sorts itself out eventually, but for now at least I guess I'm stuck with it showing up every time I check for updates.  Oh well, it could be worse.  At least I'm being offered the updates now (thanks to this goody).  MS may not like my Kaby Lake CPU on 7, but 7 sure likes my Kaby Lake CPU:

WEI.png.adf429525c70dffa9e027a9153d358d8.png

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It's nice that M$ patched IE11.  Firefox and Chrome have been patched for a little while - but the latest version of InSpectre shows no available microcode update for my CPU, so, basically, no bueno.

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Sure, but as long as your browser is patched you should be OK, right?  I mean based on what's been said here and what I've learned elsewhere, aside from exploiting the browser, Spectre and Metldown are pretty much limited to only being useful to someone who has actual physical access to your system, right?  I mean I suppose it could be possible to build a Trojan that tricks you into executing it which contains one of the exploits, but then you're just talking about standard malware because you'd have to actually choose to run the file, in which case your regular anti-malware software should (hopefully) detect it and stop it from exploiting/infecting your system.

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Actually, no, remote attacks are possible, but it would take one heck of a concerted effort, including multiple layers of infection in order to get to the privileged information that is stored and having it all dumped and then uploaded to another site - which is why I keep stressing that this is not as much of a big deal for the individual user as it is for financial institutions and service providers and such.  If they compromise a unit at, say, a residential dwelling, they may, if they are lucky, get a couple of people's info that they can exploit - maybe net them a couple grand of something like that.  that is chump change versus the potential millions that could be stolen from an institution / corporation.

The ways this could affect the end user are not limited though.  Someone who, for example, is a user of P2P services (for whatever reason, legal, illegal, gray area) could be more vulnerable, especially if that person is lax on security updates and / or malware protection.  And let's face it, from having worked here, you know very well that the average Joe is woefully ill-educated when it comes to computer and online safety.

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Ah, I see, thanks :)

Well if that's the case, then they might as well just use a Trojanized keylogger.  It would accomplish the same purpose but would be much easier to deploy and gather the data from since those capabilities are already built into such tools, so leveraging this particular exploit would just add unnecessary complexity to the attack/infection.

I agree regarding financial institutions etc.  It seems that for the most part, other than ransomware, the bad guys are mainly focused on pay-per-click/pay-per-install PUPs these days for consumers and are using their more concerted efforts on attacking businesses and their servers to harvest user/customer data on mass scale (the data leaks we hear so much about so often, of which only a fraction actually ever get reported unfortunately).

That certainly sets my mind at ease.

And yeah, as far as typical users go who download things they probably shouldn't and tend to visit some of the less savory and more unsafe corners of the web without as much knowledge or protection as one would need to even think about doing such things (and even then, it's still not a great idea unless you're actually hunting malware, deliberately trying to get infected) I agree, though I still believe they're far more at risk from more traditional threats than they are from these vulnerabilities (for the reasons I stated above).

Edited by exile360

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It appears that MS finally fixed the issue with KB4093118 because it's no longer showing up repeatedly when I check for updates.  Hopefully it stays fixed.  I was really getting tired of reinstalling the same update over and over again.

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Lol.  They'll have it happen again with another update, I'm sure.

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Yep, it wasn't the first time and it won't be the last, but at least this update repeating is a thing of the past...for now ;) 

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Indeed.

In other news, the link to the image of my signature was removed from my account settings.  Fussed with it for a while trying ot get it to work,but I'm just going to remove it - and change my overall signature.

Guess it was time for a change :P

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