June 19, 2018

Don't download Intel's latest Spectre and Meltdown patch, Intel warns

23 January 2018, 01:52 | Sam Montgomery

Intel tells users to stop deploying buggy Spectre patch, citing technical issues

Intel says it has found “root cause” of flawed patches for Meltdown and Spectre on older systems

It also comes after Microsoft was forced to withdraw AMD's patch for the Spectre bug after causing users similar problems.

The chip maker began investigating its patch after users reported machines were unexpectedly rebooting after installing the update. Instead, these partners should "focus efforts on testing early versions of the updated solution so we can accelerate its release".

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.

The firm's executive Vice President Neil Shenov wrote: "We recommend that OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors and end users stop deployment of current versions, as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behaviour". On Jan. 11, Intel acknowledged that the patches were causing higher reboot rates in its older chips. 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 now, leaving processors unpatched means chips still have the Spectre and Meltdown design flaws. "This would be delivered via a BIOS update, and would not impact mitigations for Variant 1 (Spectre) and Variant 3 (Meltdown)". If your processor is not on the reboot issue list however, Intel still suggests to "vigilantly maintain security best practice" and keep systems up-to-date. Intel's only said that more details for regarding when the Haswell/Broadwell fix would arriving later this week.

The company said on Monday that it wanted computer manufacturers and data center owners to stop using the current fixes for the so-called Meltdown and Spectre security flaws, which can let hackers steal sensitive information from computers made with its processors.

Intel didn't immediately respond to a comment on Torvald's criticism.

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