Ever since the Spectre and Meltdown security flaws were made public at the beginning of the year, tech companies have been scrambling to get users to update their software. But unfortunately, after sending the software patch to computer manufacturers and enterprise customers, chipmaker Intel discovered that its security fix caused reboot problems. Intel cautioned users about installing the patch in a blog post last week, but as of today, the company appears to have given up on this round of patches altogether.
“We recommend that OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors, and end users stop deployment of current versions on specific platforms,” Intel executive vice president Neil Shenoy said in a statement, “as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior.”
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. Recent statements from Intel and Microsoft confirm that some patches may cause a reduction in system performance, as patching the vulnerabilities means fiddling with processes that are designed to speed up CPU performance. – READ MORE
Earlier today, we reported that according to a press reports, Intel’s computer chips were affected by a bug that makes them vulnerable to hacking. Specifically, The Register said the bug lets some software gain access to parts of a computer’s memory that are set aside to protect things like passwords, and making matters worse, all computers with Intel chips from the past 10 years appear to be affected. The news, which sent Intel’s stock tumbling, was later confirmed by the company.
In a statement issued on Monday afternoon, Intel said it was working with chipmakers including Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and ARM Holdings, and operating system makers to develop an industrywide approach to resolving the issue that may affect a wide variety of products, adding that it has begun providing software to help mitigate the potential exploits. Computer slowdowns depend on the task being performed and for the average user “should not be significant and will be mitigated over time” the company promised despite much skepticism to the contrary.
As Bloomberg helpfully puts it, Intel’s microprocessors “are the fundamental building block of the internet, corporate networks and PCs” and while Intel has added to its designs over the years trying to make computers less vulnerable to attack, arguing that hardware security is typically tougher to crack than software, there now appears to be a fundamental flaw in the design. – READ MORE