Intel warns against using Spectre patch due to higher reboots

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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.

Patching certain variants of the Spectre vulnearbility requires Intel to rewrite processor firmware, a challenging task that's much harder than patching the security flaws at a browser and operating system level. Moreover, they are apparently making good progress in developing a solution t address it. 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 company said the patches will be available after testing is completed.

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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.

Patched servers have seen sharp spikes in CPU usage since applying the update. We know the performance impact is highly variable, and that the worse of the losses have occurred in synthetic tests, rather than real-world benchmarks. Intel's reasoning for this was that they still provided protection against the Spectre variant 2 vulnerability. When Ryzen and Coffee Lake debuted in 2017, there was a general argument made that older enthusiasts still using Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge-era hardware now had a real reason to upgrade for the first time in years, with higher-end CPUs that delivered considerably higher performance. There was no indication of when Intel will release an updated fix, although the industry is very concerned about the ability of attackers to exploit the vulnerabilities.

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