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Intel's Latest On Spectre Fix Reboot Issue: Updated Fix Being Tested

23 January, 2018, 01:53 | Author: Jan Cross
  • Intel provides reboot issue guidance

Lawsuits predicably followed as the chipmaker, along with almost every other major tech company, frantically pushed out updates to patch the vulnerability.

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". To check whether your system may have a problem, check the full list of processors at the Intel Product Security center.

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.

A new version of the Meltdown/Spectre patches has been developed and is now in testing, Intel said. Assuming testing goes well, we can likely expect Intel to release the fix more broadly. 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.

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"We recommend that OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors, and end users stop deployment of current versions on specific platforms", Intel EVP Neil Shenoy writes, "as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior".

More importantly, the exec says that Intel has finally identified the root cause of reboot issues on Broadwell and Haswell processors. While Monday's announcement signals that the Broadwell and Haswell issues might soon be addressed, patches for systems using the latest-generation Skylake processors as well as systems older cores like Sandy Bridge are still problematic.

In addition to the firmware update releases by chip vendors, operating system vendors have released updates for the Meltdown and Spectre attack methods.

"I apologize for any disruption this change in guidance may cause", notes Intel Executive Vice President Navin Shenoy.

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