Microsoft gives sysadmins Meltdown and Spectre detection in Windows Analytics

Windows

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.

Microsoft has released an update to its free Windows Analytics tool, giving system administrators a new way to check for the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities.

This latest update, though, is primarily geared towards making administrators' job easier when it comes to mitigating and removing the risk of Meltdown and Spectre attacks.

Given the multifaceted problems that have surfaced in attempts to mitigate the attacks, the Windows Analytics feature is likely to be welcomed by IT pros and admins tasked with protecting PCs and servers that likely are powered by Intel CPUs.

Microsoft by that stage had already analyzed the performance impact of the mitigations against Meltdown and Spectre.

Writing on the Windows Blog, Terry Myerson - executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group - says that the company is frequently asked about Meltdown and Spectre.

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There are now new Anti-Virus Status, Windows Operating System Security Update Status, and Firmware Status sections in Windows Analytics: Anti-virus Status will help indicate if a device's anti-virus software is compatible with the latest Windows Updates.

Furthermore, Windows Analytics will also report on the status of that mysterious registry key that computers running a custom antivirus software will need to have.

The first is an antivirus status check that probes whether a machine's installed antivirus software will prevent it from receiving a Windows Meltdown/Spectre patch.

The second thing is a Windows security update scan.

Firmware Status - This insight provides details about the firmware installed on the device. Moreover, it lists if the firmware includes specific protections required by CPU manufacturers. Initially, this status will be limited to the list of approved and available firmware security updates from Intel. Right now, it just detects if Intel microcode updates were applied, but Microsoft plans to add checks for other chips, as well.

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