Intel's security patches are causing computers to randomly restart

19 January, 2018, 02:05 | Author: Darren Santiago
  • EnlargeSimon Smith

Separately, technology website The Register reported, citing a document in Oracle's customers-only portal, that certain versions of Oracle Solaris on SPARCv9 are affected by one of the chip flaws, named Spectre, and the company was working on a security patch for it.

This malware, known as Smoke Loader, looks to be an official patch but will actually let malware loose on your computer, posing potentially a greater threat than the original Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities. As we continue these efforts, I would like to express my appreciation to many of our partners, including Dell, HPE, HPI, Lenovo and Microsoft, for joining our Security-First Pledge. New microcode will be released in beta next week, he said, after Intel starting telling select customers last week to avoid its initial patches.

Intel and ARM insisted that the issue was not a design flaw, but it will require users to download a patch and update their operating system to fix. Now, according to Intel VP Navin Shenoy, the firmware-updated PCs powered by Skylake, Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge and the latest Kaby Lake processors are facing a reboot problem as well.

The impact appears to be minimal in most cases, with Intel seeing a 0-2 percent performance on industry standard measures of integer and floating point throughput, Linkpack, Stream, server-side Java, and energy efficiency benchmarks.

Intel confirms in a blog post that it has released firmware updates for 90 percent of its CPUs introduced in the past five years.

Intel says that it's trying to also identify workarounds for performance problems.

Intel has published the results of these tests and promised to issue more performance data and benchmarks of older systems as quickly as possible. A data center benchmark test simulating a stock exchange showed a 4 percent impact, while tests using the Storage Performance Development Kit (SPDK), which "provide a set of tools and libraries for writing high performance, scalable, user-mode storage applications", showed workload speeds reduced by up to 25 percent. For workloads that need to write data to a storage component, the performance hit from the patches can be as high as 18 percent depending on CPU utilization.

The company is also looking at incorporating Google's Retpoline (return trampoline) software solution to mitigate the performance impact of the security patches.

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