Intel urges halt to installing its Meltdown/Spectre patches

AMD Ryzen

Several days ago, Intel disclosed issues surrounding the update for fixing the recent Meltdown and Spectre flaws are actually causing problems on some systems. Initial patches for the vulnerabilities have already begun rolling out, but have been hit by various problems, including a frequent reboot issue.

Intel says that it has root-caused the issue on Haswell and Broadwell systems and that it has already issued a version of the fix to hardware partners, which are now testing it. Intel's official advisory to hardware partners hasn't changed: Don't issue anymore of the bugged update and start testing the new one.

The announcement of the alternative update doesn't inspire confidence that this reboot issue will be fixed shortly. The company has asked vendors to test these patch versions more quickly, to keep systems up to date, and to continue working with it to ensure customers are adequately protected. 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.

A new version of the Meltdown/Spectre patches has been developed and is now in testing, Intel said.

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Now that a fix is in testing, Intel is recommending that "OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors and end users stop deployment of current versions" to limit the impact of unexpected reboots with current updates.

The company published a full list of Intel-based platforms that are impacted by this problem, and it's quite long. While Intel has issued patches for up to 90 per cent of affected CPUs, they came out a cost.

Spectre and Meltdown are about as bad as vulnerabilities can get, offering significant security issues on a wide variety of processors with only a band aid solution now available. No word on a fix for other processors for now, but the founder will hopefully share more details soon.

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