NVIDIA issues new GPU drivers to guard against Spectre exploit (Updated)

GTX 1080
GTX 1080

Updated 1:30 p.m ET: This story initially stated that the flaw was with NVIDIA's hardware, which was incorrect. As NVIDIA previously stated, its hardware appears to be immune to Meltdown and Spectre, and the driver updates are meant to guard against the CPU security issue. We regret this error and the story has been updated.

NVIDIA has released an update (via Reuters) for its GPU driver software to mitigate attacks based on speculative side channel execution, shoring up its software against the Spectre exploit that has that has rocked chipmakers like Intel, AMD, and ARM since its disclosure last week.

According to NVIDIA, drivers for its GeForce, NVS, Tesla, Quadro, and GRID chips are affected by the first Spectre variant and are "potentially affected" by the second. The company says that it is not susceptible to the third variant, dubbed Meltdown.

Fixes are now available for the drivers powering NVIDIA's GeForce, Quadro, NVS, and Tesla chips, but patches aren't expected for some Tesla and GRID products until later in January, NVIDIA says. Though Microsoft has warned that fixes for Spectre and Meltdown could hinder performance, NVIDIA hasn't detailed any potential performance degradation for its own patches.

Following the disclosure of the flaws last week, Microsoft was quick to issue its own emergency fixes, and chipmakers have followed suit. The process hasn't been without its issues, however; Microsoft chose to pause its patch rollout for some AMD systems after it was reported that the fixes caused some older Athlon-based PCs to become unbootable.

If you have an NVIDIA GPU in your PC, you should be able to grab the Spectre patch now via NVIDIA's GeForce Experience software or via NVIDIA's driver update page.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Not mentioning any slow down issues indicates that a slow down will occur of course, because if there was no slow down Nvidia would have been as quick as AMD to state such. Disappointing.
  • This is most likely correct.
  • Nvidia GPUs are NOT affected by this. Contact Nvidia for more information! The Nvidia graphics card drivers are a target, not the GPU itself.. There is no performance degradation by updating the drivers. It is just a patch on the driver level to not open doors. Even if the GPU was affected by the expoint.. what will the expoit get? Take a texture from a wall in a game you play... ooOOooo scary. Would be easier to extra it from the game files, than to do all this. Windows Central, please dont' report news from other sites that know nothing, and please focus on pushing your journalist to specialize a bit more on a certain aspect.. liek a Windows person, a graphic card person, a CPU person.. where they all report the same great news here, but when it comes to reporting specific hardware news, the more knwolegable person takes over, and can better understand the situation, and report correctly the news.
  • Yes, downvote my post.... While the update of this news confirm what I just said above. Anyway, thanks for the correction Windows Central!
  • While I agree that this was poorly written click-bait (the writers here are too busy writing articles about Android), security is not just about someone hacking a GPU to steal game textures. Graphics are not just textures, there are images that are rendered that contain business data that could be confidential. Also, GPUs today do much more than render graphics, they are used as a numerical processor where code is run and often contain financial data or other data that you would not want to be stolen. That is most likely why this is an issue requiring a patch. While the processor on the graphics card may not have the issue that some CPUs have, (and I am speculating here) there is shared memory between the CPU and GPU and the CPU could potentially be used to pass restricted kernel memory to the GPU where code could be run. This change may be to fix that.
  • How about NVidia graphics embedded into motherboards?
  • Nvidia GPUs are not affected. Only the drivers which opens a holes for the exploits with the system. See the update of the news item
  • Yea, this is pretty much clickbate at this point. The article still states that Nvidia chips are vulnerable despite the evidence to the contrary. Best to mark this one up as a journalistic mistake, I'm sure it was not intentional. It really ought to be taken down.
  • How about Nvidia motherboards like the old the 780 I wich is no longer under support will there be a Patch for that.