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

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

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

Some users have experienced "higher system reboots" after applying updates to Intel processor firmware to address possible Meltdown and Spectre attack scenarios, Intel explained back on January 11. Intel cautioned users about installing the patch in a blog post last week, but as of today, the company appears to have given up on this round of patches altogether. Recently, both Microsoft and Intel confirmed that the updates for PCs with Haswell and Broadwell processors could cause higher system reboots, with no workaround in sight. Recent statements from Intel and Microsoft confirm that some patches may cause a reduction in system performance, as patching the vulnerabilities means fiddling with processes that are created to speed up CPU performance. Intel is, however, working on a new firmware update to address the random reboot issues.

Intel initially was recommending that users continue to update despite the issue. In fact, an early version of the updated solution has begun rolling out to industry partners initially.

The announcement of the alternative update doesn't inspire confidence that this reboot issue will be fixed shortly.

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While this means that systems will be unprotected from Spectre and Meltdown, there are now no known attack vectors that are being actively used against PC systems (yet). However, until then, Intel is changing their tune in terms of updating. "This would be delivered via a BIOS update, and would not impact mitigations for Variant 1 (Spectre) and Variant 3 (Meltdown)".

There are still several Intel chip models that are reportedly experiencing rebooting issues, including its second-generation Sandy Bridge, third-generation Ivy Bridge, sixth-generation Skylake, and seventh-generation Kaby Lake models.

Intel first acknowledged the problem more than a week ago, saying chips in the company's lines called Broadwell and Haswell were causing problems after receiving updates. 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.

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