Intel: Don't Deploy Our Faulty Spectre Patches

by Leslie Wood January 23, 2018, 1:50
Intel: Don't Deploy Our Faulty Spectre Patches

The company is advising people to stay far away from its patch after users complained that it caused their machines to reboot.

Intel's decision to pause the updates comes amid criticism from technical experts of the industry's approach to patching Spectre and Meltdown.

PC users have been complaining that Intel's rushed Spectre and Meltdown patches were causing spontaneous reboots, and now Intel has admitted as much, and now officially recommends users avoid their software. 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 has asked vendors to test these patch versions more quickly, to keep systems up to date, and to continue working with it to ensure customers are adequately protected. However, until then, Intel is changing their tune in terms of updating. Intel also said it had identified the root cause of the reboot problem in its older Broadwell and Haswell processors.

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Intel says that it has root-caused the issue on Haswell and Broadwell systems and that it has already issued a version of the fix to hardware partners, which are now testing it. Intel's official advisory to hardware partners hasn't changed: Don't issue anymore of the bugged update and start testing the new one.

Just days after revealing that the reboot problem affecting Spectre/Meltdown-patched systems is more widespread than initially thought, Intel on Monday advised users to stop deploying its buggy fixes. In December, a critical flaw was discovered in all modern processors that let attackers use low-privileged apps to read the memory of a computer's kernel, the central part of an operating system, giving them the ability to steal sensitive data like passwords, files, and security keys. "Please be assured we are working quickly to address these issues".


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