Intel: Don't Deploy Our Faulty Spectre Patches

Herbert Rhodes
January 23, 2018

About a week and a half ago, Intel acknowledged that firmware updates meant to mitigate security threats posed by Spectre and Meltdown were causing reboot issues on some Broadwell and Haswell systems.

Intel says that it's identified the issue behind the unexpected reboots on Broadwell and Haswell processors and is working toward releasing an update that addresses the exploits without causing that issue. Regular computer users don't have a lot to worry about, but operations managers at cloud companies and data centers have done little else in 2018 but worry about these security issues and the performance impact of the patches created to mitigate those issues.

Intel initially believed the reboot problem was limited to firmware updated systems running its older Broadwell and Haswell CPUs.

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This unfortunate development came to light Monday, when Intel issued an official statement telling a groups of its customers to just slow their roll when it comes to updating their critically vulnerable systems. Intel will provide more details about the timing of the fix for these chip architectures this week, according to its updated advisory. To check whether your system may have a problem, check the full list of processors at the Intel Product Security center.

"I apologize for any disruption this change in guidance may cause", notes Intel Executive Vice President Navin Shenoy. While Intel has issued patches for up to 90 per cent of affected CPUs, they came out a cost. The patches, which the company spent months crafting, cause computers to reboot more often than normal. It may be that Haswell and Broadwell fixes will arrive soon, but that the other processors will take longer to fix.

Intel recommends that its customers stop distribution of the current version, as these patches may introduce unwanted behavior, including frequent reboots.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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