Intel says Spectre, Meltdown fix faulty, advises users against installing

Intel has issued an advisory asking consumers to stop installing patches for two security vulnerabilities, Spectre and Meltdown, citing reports that the firmware updates are causing systems running Intel Broadwell and Haswell CPUs to reboot quite frequently. The chipmaker’s latest statement comes after announcing last week that the company has issued firmware updates for 90 per cent of Intel CPUs made in the past five years.
Intel VP Navin Shenoy in a statement on Monday said that the company is “working quickly with these customers to understand, diagnose and address this reboot issue. If this requires a revised firmware update from Intel, we will distribute that update through the normal channels. We are also working directly with data center customers to discuss the issue.” He adds that end-users can continue to apply updates recommended by their systems and OS providers.
The chipmaker has asked technology providers to test new versions of the patches that were distributed on Saturday. Reports of frequent reboots on systems running older Intel chips have been emerging since a couple of weeks now. Shenoy last week addressed the issue and confirmed that while a majority of the reports were from consumers on older processors, the firmware updates were also affecting newer PCs with Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Skylake and Kaby Lake processors to some degree.
In a bid to be completely transparent regarding the two major vulnerabilities, the chipmaker last week also confirmed that the patches also affect performance depending on “specific workloads and configurations.” While some tests such as simulating stock exchange interaction and online transaction showed a slowdown of around 4 per cent, other tests with severe workloads showed a slowdown as high as 25 per cent.
Earlier this month, two major security flaws, named Spectre and Meltdown, were revealed to be present in most modern computing systems powered by Intel’s chipsets.The flaws can be exploited by attackers to gain access to personal information like passwords and emails. Companies like Microsoft, Google and Apple have been working on pushing out updates to mitigate the flaws while Intel last week claimed that 90 per cent of its CPUs manufactured in the last five years have been protected.
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