Intel now knows why Spectre and Metldown patches are causing reboots
Jan 23 2018
The updates were meant to fix the Spectre and Meltdown design flaws, but now Intel says they cause too many of their own problems to install for the time being. Once this initial phase of testing is completed, Intel will then release an updated patch that will [hopefully] not result in unexpected reboots for customers.
"We further recommend that OEMs, Cloud service providers, system manufacturers and software vendors begin evaluation of Intel beta microcode update releases in anticipation of definitive root cause and subsequent production releases suitable for end users", Intel VP Navin Shenoy said.
The patches, which the company spent months crafting, cause computers to reboot more often than normal. "The security of our products is critical for Intel, our customers and partners, and for me, personally".
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.
Shenoy also posted updates on the performance tests they were conducting in data centers.
Intel now says users should avoid installing and partners should stop distributing the patch it issued to protect against the Meltdown and Spectre attacks.
Indeed, in virtually the next breath after telling users not to install this particular patch, Shenoy advised users to keep their computers updated - a decidedly mixed message at best.
The Intel executive added that the released firmware updates have been "effective at mitigating exposure to the security issues".
Intel has also faced concerns the patches will slow down chip performance, and announced last week that speeds on patched chips could take a hit of 6 percent or less. "This would be delivered via a BIOS update, and would not impact mitigations for Variant 1 (Spectre) and Variant 3 (Meltdown)". While Monday's announcement signals that the Broadwell and Haswell issues might soon be addressed, patches for systems using the latest-generation Skylake processors as well as systems older cores like Sandy Bridge are still problematic. A spokesperson for Intel told Business Insider that the company is working on the Haswell and Broadwell chips first, and will subsequently work on fixes for other models.