Published: Tue, January 23, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

Intel Identifies Meltdown-Patch Reboot Problems in Broadwell and Haswell Chips

Intel Identifies Meltdown-Patch Reboot Problems in Broadwell and Haswell Chips

More than six months after Google informed Intel that almost all the computers on the planet released in the last 20 years have security holes thanks to a chip design flaw, Intel seems no closer to completely addressing the Meltdown and Spectre issues than it did when it first went public with the news in early January. Once this initial phase of testing is completed, Intel will then release an updated patch that will [hopefully] not result in unexpected reboots for customers. Intel is, however, working on a new firmware update to address the random reboot issues.

Intel on Monday called for a halt in deployment of patches for a troubling vulnerability in its computer chips because they could cause "unpredictable" problems in affected devices.

The announcement of the alternative update doesn't inspire confidence that this reboot issue will be fixed shortly. However, even though Intel has now figured out why those reboot problems occurred with those processors, it seems that relief for end users will depend on the speed of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) testing efforts.

The Intel executive added that the released firmware updates have been "effective at mitigating exposure to the security issues".

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One partner, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the channel's role is the talk with impacted customers and help them understand what steps are necessary for dealing with the Spectre and Meltdown exploits.

Shenoy's announcement on Monday offered no mention, as he had explained in his earlier January 17 post, that other processors also are affected by the reboot problems, namely "Ivy Bridge-, Sandy Bridge-, Skylake-, and Kaby Lake-based platforms". A spokesperson for Intel told Business Insider that the company is working on the Haswell and Broadwell chips first, and will subsequently work on fixes for other models. He advised users of Intel processors to follow security best practices and to keep systems patched.

Last week, Intel said the problem also affected its most recent Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Skylake and Kaby Lake processors.

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