HomeData EngineeringData NewsMicrosoft warns of data loss in Windows devices

Microsoft warns of data loss in Windows devices

Microsoft has issued a warning today that Windows devices equipped with the most recent supported processors are prone to “data damage” on Windows 11 and Windows Server 2022.

Windows devices that support the most recent Vector Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) (VAES) instruction set may be vulnerable to data damage, the company announced today.

Devices that are affected by this recently declared familiar problem use AES-XTS (AES XEX-based tweaked-codebook mode with ciphertext stealing) or AES-GCM (AES with Galois/Counter Mode) block cipher modes on new hardware.

While Microsoft acknowledges the risks of data loss on affected systems, it does not go into detail about what customers should expect if they are affected by this issue.

Problems resolved in May and June Windows updates

According to Microsoft, the issue was taken care of in preview and security releases released on May 24 and June 14, respectively, to prevent more data damage.

These Windows updates, however, have a performance hit because AES-based operations maybe two times (2x) slower after installation on affected systems running Windows Server 2022 and Windows 11 (original release).

BitLocker, Transport Layer Security (TLS) (specifically load balancers), and disc throughput (especially for enterprise customers) may be affected by the performance degradation.

To take advantage of VAES (vectorized AES) instructions,  new code paths were added to the Windows 11 (original release) and Windows Server 2022 versions of SymCrypt, Microsoft stated when explaining the cause of the problem.

SymCrypt is Windows’ core cryptographic library. These instructions operate on Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) registers for hardware with the most recent processors supported.

Workaround for the performance degradation

Customers encountering performance issues should install the June 23 preview update (Windows 11, Windows Server 2022) or the July 12 security update (Windows 11, Windows Server 2022) for their operating system version as a workaround.

Microsoft claims that once installed on affected devices, these Windows updates will restore initial performance metrics.

If you are affected by this, we strongly recommend that you install the May 24, 2022 preview release or the June 14, 2022 security release as soon as possible to avoid further damage, Microsoft added.

After installing the June 23, 2022 preview release or the July 12, 2022 security release, performance will be restored.

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