Protect against Spectre and Meltdown

Applies to multiple products

This article discusses the impact of the recently disclosed processor vulnerabilities, named “Spectre” and “Meltdown,” for Windows customers and provides resources to help keep your devices protected at home, at work, and across your enterprise.


Microsoft is aware of new vulnerabilities in hardware processors named “Spectre” and “Meltdown”. These are a newly discovered class of vulnerabilities based on a common chip architecture that, when originally designed, was created to speed up computers. The technical name is “speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities”. You can learn more about these vulnerabilities at Google Project Zero.

Who is affected?

Affected chips include those manufactured by Intel, AMD, and ARM, which means all devices running Windows operating systems are potentially vulnerable (e.g., desktops, laptops, cloud servers, and smartphones). Devices running other operating systems such as Android, Chrome, iOS, and MacOS are also affected. We advise customers running these operating systems to seek guidance from those vendors.At this time of publication, we have not received any information to indicate that these vulnerabilities have been used to attack customers.

Protections Microsoft provided to date

As of January 3, 2018, Microsoft released several updates to help mitigate these vulnerabilities and help protect customers. We have also deployed updates to secure our cloud services and Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge browsers. We are continuing to work closely with industry partners including chip makers, device manufacturers, and app vendors.

What steps should I take to protect my devices?

You will need to update both your hardware and your software to address this vulnerability. This includes firmware updates from device manufacturers and, in some cases, updates to your antivirus software as well.

To receive all available protections, follow these steps to get the latest updates for both software and hardware:

Before your begin, make sure your antivirus (AV) software is up to date and compatible. Check your antivirus software manufacturer’s website for their latest compatibility information.

  1. Keep your Windows device up to date by turning on automatic updates.
  2. Check that you’ve installed the January 2018 Windows operating system security update from Microsoft. If automatic updates are turned on, the updates should be automatically delivered to you, but you should still confirm that they’re installed.
  3. Install available hardware (firmware) updates from your device manufacturer. All customers will need to check with their device manufacturer to download and install their device specific hardware update. If you have questions regarding the available firmware updates, contact Chip ICT Support, based on the serialnumber we can provide you with the needed information.

Customers who only install the January 2018 Windows operating system security updates from Microsoft will not be fully protected against the vulnerabilities. Antivirus software updates should be installed first. Operating system and firmware updates should follow.