Meltdown fix invalidates anti-virus software

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Meltdown and spectre threat concept on laptop screen in office workplaceThere is a new and sinister twist in the Meltdown/Spectre CPU saga. It now appears that the fixes issued by Microsoft to mitigate the problem are incompatible with several anti-virus systems. If the patch clashes with the device’s AV app it could cause ‘blue screen’ or ‘stop’ errors that prevent it from booting – resulting in a crashed system.

The main issue surrounds the setting of the registry key. AV vendors are unwilling to undertake this, in case it causes the computer to crash – leaving the finger of blame pointing at them. At the same time, it isn’t fair to burden users with this responsibility – even if their AV is safe, other software on their computer might trigger a system failure.

This is a worrying development for all parties as, until it’s resolved, it leaves computers wide open to malicious exploits like the WannCry attack in May 2017. It looks as if the AV vendors have no option other than to modify their systems to ensure they function compatibly with Microsoft’s fixes.