Intel warns everyone not to download its Spectre and Meltdown patch

Dora Pope
January 23, 2018

OEMs have to test Intel's updates first to ensure that problem-free firmware updates get out the door to end users.

Intel recently promised that all of its processors from the past five years would be protected against the Meltdown/Spectre vulnerabilities by the end of January, and this is proving to be more hard than expected.

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. Intel has asked its partners to focus on testing early versions of the updated fix so it can accelerate the release. On Jan. 11, Intel acknowledged that the patches were causing higher reboot rates in its older chips.

"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 behavior", Navin Shenoy, executive vice-president and general manager of Intel's data center group, said in a release Monday. That's because manufacturers deliver the Spectre and Meltdown updates to the chips through a different program.

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"We continue to urge all customers to vigilantly maintain security best practice and for consumers to keep systems up-to-date", Shenoy said.

Just days after revealing that the reboot problem affecting Spectre/Meltdown-patched systems is more widespread than initially thought, Intel on Monday advised users to stop deploying its buggy fixes. Lawsuits predicably followed as the chipmaker, along with almost every other major tech company, frantically pushed out updates to patch the vulnerability.

On Sunday, Linus Torvalds, an influential software developer known for creating Linux, which underpins systems like Android and Chrome OS, repeatedly called the Meltdown updates "garbage" in a messages on Sunday.

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