last week took the unprecedented step of requiring customers to have up-to-date software on their personal computers before it would hand over a critical update.

“This was unique,” said Chris Goettl, product manager with client security and management vendor Ivanti. “But there was a danger here.”

Goettl was talking about the emergency Microsoft issued last week to bolster Windows’ defenses against potential attacks leveraging the vulnerabilities labeled Meltdown and Spectre by researchers. Operating system and browser makers have shipped updates designed to harden systems against the vulnerabilities, which stemmed from design flaws in modern processors from companies such as Intel, AMD and ARM.

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