Intel urges halt to installing its Meltdown/Spectre patches

23 January, 2018, 02:15 | Author: Grady King
  • Intel urges halt to installing its Meltdown/Spectre patches

Some users have experienced "higher system reboots" after applying updates to Intel processor firmware to address possible Meltdown and Spectre attack scenarios, Intel explained back on January 11. The patch wound up causing another problem: It led some PCs to reboot unexpectedly.

The announcement of the alternative update doesn't inspire confidence that this reboot issue will be fixed shortly. A couple of days later, the company acknowledged similar issues with its patches for the company's more recent Skylake and Kaby Lake CPUs. However, until then, Intel is changing their tune in terms of updating.

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"We recommend that OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors, and end users stop deployment of current versions on specific platforms", Intel executive vice president Neil Shenoy said in a statement, "as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior". Intel will provide more details about the timing of the fix for these chip architectures this week, according to its updated advisory.

Intel is just now getting to the bottom of the problem, having identified the root cause of these issues in Broadwell and Haswell-generation chips.

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Instead, Intel asked customers to start testing an updated version of its patches that it began sending out on Saturday and Sunday. "The security of our products is critical for Intel, our customers and partners, and for me, personally".

At the issue's outbreak, Intel advised hardware partners to stop issuing updates for unpatched devices, but not to recall the updates they had already issued.

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Of all the companies hit by the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, Intel has been the most exposed, thanks to aggressive memory speculation and its own market dominance. It may be that Haswell and Broadwell fixes will arrive soon, but that the other processors will take longer to fix.

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