Intel advises customers not to download Spectre patch after reboot problems

Adjust Comment Print

"We have received reports from a few customers of higher system reboots after applying firmware updates", Intel states. These can be found at the Intel.com website.

The patch for the vulnerable processors requires intervention on a feature that is directly meant to boost chip performance.

Intel's fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre bugs are triggering processors released between 2013 and 2016 to randomly reboot.

Sixth generation Skylake CPUs take the biggest hit from Intel and Microsoft's mitigations, especially in system responsiveness tests which are running at a 21% performance deficit from an unpatched system.


The news of Nvidia's GPUs being affected by Spectre is a good example of just how widespread a problem it and the Meltdown variant has caused, potentially signalling that the next wave of chip from the main players will need a complete change of architecture.

He added, "If this requires a revised firmware update from Intel, we will distribute that update through the normal channels". "For those Intel customers who are anxious about performance impacts, you should know that we will work on creative solutions with our industry partners to reduce those performance impacts wherever possible".

In the most basic terms, Williams explained, vulnerable processors are like an old, broken bridge.

As explained in Google's post, most CPUs have a system in place that walls off applications so they can not see what's present in the memory of another application. There are important roles for everyone: Timely adoption of software and firmware patches by consumers and system manufacturers is critical.


However, unlike the other hardware-level CPU flaw Meltdown, which only affects Intel processors, Spectre is more hard to exploit and there are no reports of it being used outside of lab and proof-of-concept cyber attacks. Vulnerability to Variant 2 has not been demonstrated on AMD processors to date.

Swathes of CPUs have been hit by security flaws that have been lying dormant within them for years. "Hopefully, this nudges Intel back to a place where security is truly part and parcel of all their chip designs in all cases".

As operating systems continue to become more locked down, researchers will spend time looking at the nuts and bolts of computers to find vulnerabilities, rather than holes in software like Windows or macOS.

Williams noted that for decades, "Intel's primary concern has been performance rather than security".


Comments