Intel ships Spectre fix for newer chips


The release follows that of microcode updates for some Skylake-based platforms in early February, and Intel's January advice to stop deploying initial firmware updates that addressed Spectre (variant 2) due to a higher than expected incidence of reboots and other unpredictable system behavior.

After working to fix those issues, Intel started releasing new patches nearly two weeks ago, when new code for Skylake-based PCs was released.

Intel said the patches have already been passed on to its OEM partners.

Intel is not the only company to have issued patches against Spectre and Meltdown that have caused instability and performance issues on PCs and servers.

Chips from AMD are not affected by the Meltdown attack, but its processors have the same flaws that make it vulnerable to Spectre attacks.

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Indeed, Redmond soon warned that patched system could become unstable and that Intel's faulty patch could in some cases cause "data loss or corruption".

Some hard pressed techies dealing with the fallout of the design flaws are not yet convinced of Intel's latest microcode update, at least ones that expressed doubts on Reddit. "This effort has included extensive testing by customers and industry partners to ensure the updated versions are ready for production".

Even Microsoft had to work fast for a system update to keep Intel's shoddy mitigation patch from doing any more harm to users' computers. "This represents our sixth, seventh and eighth generation Intel Core product lines, as well as our latest Intel Core X-series processor family".

Shenoy said there are "multiple mitigation techniques available that may provide protection against these exploits", including a recent Google-developed binary modification technique branded Retpoline (white paper here).

However, while installing the latest patch is always recommended, users should also be wary of mischief makers who could be masquerading as the company representative and offer a dubious piece of codes that end up hacking their systems instead of securing those.