Intel Issuing Updates for Meltdown, Spectre Reboot Problem on Older Platforms

Jan 23, 2018, 01:52
Intel Issuing Updates for Meltdown, Spectre Reboot Problem on Older Platforms

Intel on Monday told hardware makers and end users to stop deploying its firmware patch for Spectre CPU attack due to it causing "higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior".

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.

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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. This is not a case of performance decreases due to the patch but instead, as Intel executive vice president Neil Shenoy puts it, the patch "may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behaviour". However, until then, Intel is changing their tune in terms of updating. Initial patches for the vulnerabilities have already begun rolling out, but have been hit by various problems, including a frequent reboot issue. Intel will provide more details about the timing of the fix for these chip architectures this week, according to its updated advisory. But when carrying out some more intensive tasks, like browsing the internet on multiple tabs, users could see slowdowns closer to 12 percent on computers running with patched chips, Intel found.

"For those concerned about system stability while we finalize the updated solutions", Shenoy added, "we are also working with our OEM partners on the option to utilize a previous version of microcode that does not display these issues, but removes the Variant 2 (Spectre) mitigations". The same issues have been happening on Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Skylake, and Kaby Lake processors too; Intel says it's "actively working on developing solutions" for those platforms as well.