Don't Use Intel's Latest Spectre Patch

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Worried about protecting yourself from the security exploit that is Spectre? Well if you already downloaded Intel's update patching the flaw, be prepared to download another one soon.

Intel's software fix is the cause of some random rebooting issues users are running into, and the company is urging consumers and manufacturers to hold off on distributing the current update until the update is, uh, updated.

Intel's executive vice president Navin Shenoy stated in a press release that the company has identified the cause of the random reboot bug affecting Intel processors built using the Haswell or Broadwell microarchitecture, and is working with manufacturers to properly test and distribute the new patch.

"We recommend that OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors and end users stop deployment of current versions, as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behaviour," Shenoy said.

In short, don't update your computer just yet, and follow the instructions presented by your manufacturer before you start tinkering with your BIOS.

While it's good to know they're working on a fix, this still leaves users with a difficult decision: download the buggy patch and hope you aren't affected, or continue to use your potentially compromised computer. You should, at least for now, opt for the latter.

If you haven't taken the time to check if your computer is affected by the processor-focused Spectre and Meltdown security flaws, you might as well wait a little longer.


Comments

    This article seems to have picked up that there was an advisory update on 22 Jan, but hasn't actually covered what was updated since almost all of this article just repeats the previous content about halting the update process.

    The updated recommendations are as follows:

    We have now identified the root cause of the reboot issue impacting Broadwell and Haswell platforms, and made good progress in developing a solution to address it. Based on this, we are updating our guidance for customers and partners:

    - We recommend that OEMs, Cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors and end users stop deployment of current versions on the below platforms, as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior.

    - We also ask that our industry partners focus efforts on testing early versions of the updated solution for Broadwell and Haswell we started rolling out this weekend, so we can accelerate its release. We expect to share more details on timing later this week.

    - For those concerned about system stability while we finalize the updated solutions, we are also working with our OEM partners on the option to utilize a previous version of microcode that does not display these issues, but removes the Variant 2 (Spectre) mitigations. This would be delivered via a BIOS update, and would not impact mitigations for Variant 1 (Spectre) and Variant 3 (Meltdown).

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