Intel Fumbles Its Patch for Chip Flaw

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Shenoy said that if the reboot issue requires a firmware update, it will be distributed through normal channels.

Intel's fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre bugs are triggering processors released between 2013 and 2016 to randomly reboot. However, Intel still recommends end-users should apply the updates for both OS and hardware. According to the post, a new Retpoline kept Google Cloud from having to cut off key performance features and, by December, when all the flaws had been addressed, "nobody noticed", the post said.

"We have received reports from a few customers of higher system reboots after applying firmware updates", Intel states.

Sixth generation Skylake CPUs take the biggest hit from Intel and Microsoft's mitigations, especially in system responsiveness tests which are running at a 21% performance deficit from an unpatched system.

Justin Jett, director of audit and compliance at Plixer International Inc., a network traffic analysis company based in Kennebunk, Maine, noted that Intel Meltdown patches have been promised for all CPUs by the end of January, which "seems to show that Intel is dedicated to resolving the issue in a reasonable timeframe". Devices using the 7th Gen Kaby Lake-H mobile processors will be around 7% slower, while the performance impact on systems with the 6th Gen Skylake-S platform is estimated to be around 8%.

The moonshot came from Google engineer Paul Turner, and it's known as "Retpoline".

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The potential review of the Intel Meltdown patch comes soon after CEO BrianKrzanich announced the company's "Security-First Pledge". WSJ got its hands on a document Intel has been sending out, which recommends that customers "delay additional deployments of these microcode updates" while it figures out the reboot issue. "They are not affected by these security issues", he shared.

Intel has admitted that patches to fix the Spectre and Meltdown chip flaws could slow machines "in some cases".

On the same day, rival chipmaker AMD said it will also release a fix for the Spectre vulnerability.

The Spectre and Meltdown issues were discovered a year ago by Google's Project Zero security team.

"This allows a program to access the memory, and the also the secrets, of other programs and the operating system".

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