Meltdown: Intel now asking everyone to skip flawed firmware updates

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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 has asked its partners to focus on testing early versions of the updated fix so it can accelerate the release.

This message is specifically for OEM's, cloud service providers, system manufacturers software vendors and end users.

The chip maker began investigating its patch after users reported machines were unexpectedly rebooting after installing the update.

The company says it has identified the problems behind the bug, which potentially leaves the Broadwell, Haswell, Coffee Lake, Kaby Lake, Skylake, and Ivy Bridge chip generations open to intrusion. A new patch will be available soon. 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.

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With Apple having their own remediation in progress, to fix the same issues on their home-grown processors for iOS devices, and AMD also caught up in this (although to a much lesser extent than Intel) this issue is one of the most pervasive and hard to remedy vulnerabilities I can recall. To check whether your system may have a problem, check the full list of processors at the Intel Product Security center.

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.

"I apologize for any disruption this change in guidance may cause", notes Intel Executive Vice President Navin Shenoy.

At the issue's outbreak, Intel advised hardware partners to stop issuing updates for unpatched devices, but not to recall the updates they had already issued.

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