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Intel warns users to stay away from its Meltdown, Spectre patch

Intel warns users to stay away from its Meltdown, Spectre patch

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.

About a week and a half ago, Intel acknowledged that firmware updates meant to mitigate security threats posed by Spectre and Meltdown were causing reboot issues on some Broadwell and Haswell systems.

Intel's solution for the Spectre and Meltdown kernel bugs is nearly as bad as the problem.

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.




A new version of the Meltdown/Spectre patches has been developed and is now in testing, Intel said. There was no indication of when Intel will release an updated fix, although the industry is very concerned about the ability of attackers to exploit the vulnerabilities.

However, Intel has yet to directly address similar issues affecting both older and more recent processors than the Broadwell and Haswell families, namely Ivy Bridge, Skylake, Kaby Lake, and Coffee Lake generations.

"We recommend that OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors, and end users stop deployment of current versions on specific platforms", Shenoy wrote, "as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior". It also advised customers of certain systems (a full list is here) to stop deploying the patches until the updated patches are released. 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.

Intel is just now getting to the bottom of the problem, having identified the root cause of these issues in Broadwell and Haswell-generation chips. "I assure you we are working around the clock to ensure we are addressing these issues".

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