Intel calls for pause to Meltdown, Spectre patch rollout

Intel now knows why Spectre and Metldown patches are causing reboots

Intel testing fix for reboot issues caused by Spectre patch on older CPUs

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.

The announcement of the alternative update doesn't inspire confidence that this reboot issue will be fixed shortly. Intel now thinks it knows why and is making "good progress" on a solution. The patch wound up causing another problem: It led some PCs to reboot unexpectedly. There was no indication of when Intel will release an updated fix, although the industry is very concerned about the ability of attackers to exploit the vulnerabilities. Over the weekend it released an early version the fix for Broadwell and Haswell chips to OEMs, which it plans to release once testing is complete. Intel first announced that the issue affected Haswell and Broadwell systems, but later expanded the list to include Kaby Lake, Skylake, Ivy Bridge, and Sandy Bridge.

Navin Shenoy, Intel's vice president of data centres, apologised for the the disruption and advised all users to stop applying the current patches.

"We recommend that OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors and end users stop deployment of current [patch] versions", reads the statement, "as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior". Especially if users have a Haswell or Broadwell based system. "The security of our products is critical for Intel, our customers and partners, and for me, personally". Intel says they were "working around the clock to ensure we are addressing these issues".

Intel recently promised that all of its processors from the past five years would be protected against the Meltdown/Spectre vulnerabilities by the end of January, and this is proving to be more hard than expected.

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