Microsoft has temporarily stopped fixing a serious security flaw on personal computers powered by certain chips from Advanced Micro Devices because the repair is crippling the affected machines.

The suspension will delay efforts to protect the AMD machines from potential intrusions caused by security bugs known as "Spectre" and "Meltdown." The problem primarily threatens devices running on processors from AMD's larger rival, Intel, but also could cause trouble on devices running on other chips.

Microsoft began offering updates to its Windows operating system to address the flaw last week, but is withholding the repair from some AMD-powered machines that have been rendered inoperable by its fix. The company said in a notice Tuesday on its website that it's working with AMD to resolve the problem so people can resume installing the recommended repairs.

After the bugs were announced last week, AMD declared there is "near zero risk" to its own processors, partly because of Microsoft's security patches.

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In other developments, Microsoft also warned that some computers powered by older processors probably won't work as well as they once did after the antidotes to Spectre and Meltdown are installed.

The government's Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert NZ) this week said people should make sure software on their devices is up-to-date after a design flaw in most processing chips was made public last week.

The Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, which leaves users open to cyber attacks, affect most devices including computers, phones and tablets, prompting software developers to build patches addressing those hardware flaws.

Researchers discovered the weaknesses, leading technology companies to bring forward an announcement of the patches.

"Cert NZ's advice to protect against these vulnerabilities is to ensure that all software on all devices is up-to-date," said director Rob Pope.

"Device and software manufacturers are working on updates for their products and many have been released already."

The local agency was launched last year as a one-stop shop for New Zealanders and local entities to find information on how to deal with cyber-security events, acting as a go-between for individuals, government agencies and businesses both big and small.

It's responsible for monitoring, tracking and advising on cyber security incidents, and if it's granted permission, can pass on information to relevant agencies.

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Cert said it was important for people to check regularly for new updates over the coming weeks as firms get a better understanding of the vulnerabilities and how to mitigate those weaknesses.

-AP, BusinessDesk