Intel urges halt to installing its Meltdown/Spectre patches

"We have now issued firmware updates for 90 percent of Intel CPUs introduced in the past five years, but we have more work to do", Shenoy said. Intel says that it expects to share more details on its testing later this week.

After the tests, which will presumably end next week, the company will issue a "beta microcode" of another security patch to various vendors and computer makers so this can be validated as good for applying on specific computer models. To check whether your system may have a problem, check the full list of processors at the Intel Product Security center.

Intel announced that it has made progress in correcting the issue causing random reboots in the fix for the Spectre vulnerability that it issued to hardware partners earlier. "I assure you we are working around the clock to ensure we are addressing these issues", added Shenoy. At least for Windows users, patches such as the one Intel issued typically come through the Windows Update feature, not from Intel itself. But when carrying out some more intensive tasks, like browsing the internet on multiple tabs, users could see slowdowns closer to 12 percent on computers running with patched chips, Intel found.

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While this means that systems will be unprotected from Spectre and Meltdown, there are now no known attack vectors that are being actively used against PC systems (yet). Intel also said it had identified the root cause of the reboot problem in its older Broadwell and Haswell processors. 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. That's because manufacturers deliver the Spectre and Meltdown updates to the chips through a different program. "This would be delivered via a BIOS update, and would not impact mitigations for Variant 1 (Spectre) and Variant 3 (Meltdown)".

"We continue to urge all customers to vigilantly maintain security best practice and for consumers to keep systems up-to-date", Shenoy continued.

  • Douglas Reid