Released in a hurry after details of the Meltdown / Spectre exploits appeared online, the patches that were supposed to fix things ended up causing even more problems.
Cases of random reboot of computers, reported by users for AMD but also Intel equipped computers, have only partially justified the decision made by Microsoft for releasing a new set of patches cancelling old ones. In what Windows 7 is concerned, patches released between January and February have also brought with them a even more serious security problem that even affects Windows Server 2008 R2 servers.
Apparently, the first patches opened up a region of protected memory of the operating system ( kernel memory ) for apps without special privileges. Precisely, malware apps in vulnerable computers were able to overwrite the protected memory of the operating system to gain administrator access, intercept passwords and other information stored in the RAM memory.
Ironically, patches created to block such attacks opened up an alternate route that basically does the same thing. Fortunately, this time what’s causing the problem is a software problem, the team of programmers who worked on the patch to fix the Meltdown exploit has – by mistake – set kernel memory access privileges incorrectly.
The final fix came on March 13, with a new set of patches distributed through the Windows Update service. The problem is that the new patches also came with a new problem causing the loss of previously configured static IPs, and because of this some servers and workstations were unable to connect to the network. The fix will come as a new patch but we don’t know the precise release date yet.