Intel Confirms Fresh Spectre, Meltdown Patch Problems

Now, the chip company is acknowledging that newer chips, including Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Skylake and Kaby Lake, are also facing the same reboot issues after they were patched.

Intel said that it had replicated these issues in internal testing, and that it's making progress in terms of identifying the precise cause. Shenoy noted that Intel has now delivered firmware updates to 90% of CPUs launched in the last five years, but one side effect of that roll out is that users have been experiencing frequent reboots.

"The January 2018 Critical Patch Update provides fixes for certain Oracle products for the Spectre (CVE-2017-5753, CVE-2017-5715) and Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754) Intel processor vulnerabilities", the vendor said. It intends to ship a beta microcode to system builders next week.

Updating processor firmware to address the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities has been problematic for Intel. Hopefully a streamlined fix without these issues will emerge pretty soon after vendor testing is done next week, although Intel doesn't recommend that folks wait before patching, given the seriousness of these bugs.


Earlier in the month, security researchers have disclosed a set of security flaws that they said could let hackers steal sensitive information from almost every modern computing device containing chips from Intel, AMD and ARM, according to a report from Reuters. Microsoft said that PCs running Windows 10 on newer silicon (2016-era PCs with Skylake, Kabylake or newer CPU) will see single-digit slowdowns and most users will not notice it because these percentages are reflected in milliseconds. "Generally speaking, the workloads that incorporate a larger number of user/kernel privilege changes and spend a significant amount of time in privileged mode will be more adversely impacted".

Intel on Wednesday also quantified how much of a performance hit the patches cause for data center customers.

"Arm appreciates Congressman McNerney's long record of work on cybersecurity issues, has responded to his office to discuss next steps, and looks forward to a dialogue on our mutual goal of creating more secure devices", the company said in a statement. "For example, there are other mitigations options that could yield less impact".


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