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Intel urges halt to installing its Meltdown/Spectre patches

23 January, 2018, 02:15 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Linus Torvalds Intel's Spectre and Meltdown patches are

Patches are being developed by Intel and then pushed out to their OEM partners who then send these out to end-user customers as BIOS updates or operating system patches depending on which of the three issues, that are collectively known as Spectre and Meltdown, they fix.

More than six months after Google informed Intel that almost all the computers on the planet released in the last 20 years have security holes thanks to a chip design flaw, Intel seems no closer to completely addressing the Meltdown and Spectre issues than it did when it first went public with the news in early January.

The chip maker began investigating its patch after users reported machines were unexpectedly rebooting after installing the update.

The company's data centre group general manager Navin Shenoy said in a statement that progress was being made to develop an update which would work. 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.

Just days after revealing that the reboot problem affecting Spectre/Meltdown-patched systems is more widespread than initially thought, Intel on Monday advised users to stop deploying its buggy fixes. "The security of our products is critical for Intel, our customers and partners, and for me, personally".

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. "Please be assured we are working quickly to address these issues". 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". 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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