Intel warns against using Spectre patch due to higher reboots

Intel warns against using Spectre patch due to higher reboots

In case you missed the previous episodes of this messy saga, Intel first admitted that recent firmware updates for Haswell and Broadwell processors could cause "higher system reboots."

Intel Corp. reported on Monday that it has discovered the cause of reboot issues that affected its Broadwell and Haswell processors after patches were applied created to fix potential side-channel "speculative execution" exploits. Intel says it has "made good progress in developing a solution", so, assuming its forthcoming patch isn't also busted in some as-of-yet undetermined way, this mess may soon be in the rearview mirror.

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. However, until then, Intel is changing their tune in terms of updating.

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

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"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 behavior", explained Intel VP Navin Shenoy.

In a blog post, Intel said new patches for Broadwell and Haswell-based computers - chips that are two generations removed from the current Skylake design - are being tested by "industry partners", which nearly assuredly includes the Big Three cloud computing providers in Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Google.

Intel says that it's identified the issue behind the unexpected reboots on Broadwell and Haswell processors and is working toward releasing an update that addresses the exploits without causing that issue.

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

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