Microsoft Releases Free Spectre, Meltdown Tool to Assess If Your Windows Machines Are Vulnerable
Microsoft has announced a free tool for Meltdown and Spectre assessment. This tool - more of new capabilities in Windows Analytics - will enable IT professionals to assess if the Windows devices across their network are protected against these devastating chip vulnerabilities.
"Customers’ devices require both updates to CPU microcode (firmware) and the Windows operating system, and anti-virus software must be compatible with the latest Windows updates," Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President, Windows and Devices Group, wrote today. Myerson announced that Microsoft is adding new capabilities to its free Windows Analytics service that will report the status of all the Windows 7, 8.1 and Windows 10 devices connected in an enterprise.
These new features of Windows Analytics service include:
- Anti-virus compatibility status
- Windows OS security update status
- Firmware status to confirm if a device is still vulnerable to Spectre and Meltdown bugs because a firmware update hasn't been installed. [This is limited to firmware security updates from Intel only, at first - more data will be added later]
Considering how haywire the patching system has gone since these bugs were revealed in January, it has turned into a major problem for IT pros to see which machines remain vulnerable and what exactly could be done to patch them. It's no easy task for average users to install patches, uninstall buggy update, and reinstall the updates that have been sent, but when taking care of hundreds or more machines, it becomes nearly impossible.
Since this tool considers all points of weakness in terms of the Meltdown and Spectre bugs, including antivirus and firmware security updates, hopefully it could be used to patch thousands of machines in a commercial environment and reduce the risk of exposure.