Intel tells users to stop deploying buggy Spectre patch, citing technical issues

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After getting reports 11 days ago that some Intel-based computers were undergoing high amounts of reboots after installing patches to fix the Meltdown/Spectre vulnerabilities the chipmaker has asked infosec pros and vendors to stop using the fix until it has been fixed.

Intel's solution for the Spectre and Meltdown kernel bugs is nearly as bad as the problem. Now, things are so busted that the company is telling some of its customers to avoid the official patch altogether. Much will depend on how the performance penalties and other questions shake out across AMD and Intel platforms as patches and updates continue to roll out. Intel's only said that more details for regarding when the Haswell/Broadwell fix would arriving later this week. 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.

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.

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In addition to the firmware update releases by chip vendors, operating system vendors have released updates for the Meltdown and Spectre attack methods.

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.

In Monday's announcement, Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of Intel's Data Center Group, called upon OEM device builders, system manufacturers and service providers to "stop deployment of current versions [of the Intel firmware updates], as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior". The same issues have been happening on Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Skylake, and Kaby Lake processors too; Intel says it's "actively working on developing solutions" for those platforms as well.

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