Intel warns users to stay away from its Meltdown, Spectre patch


The firm says the patches, which began rolling out recently, were also resulting in unpredictable system behaviour.

That's the latest directive from Intel, who cited spontaneous reboot and system instability problems - first reported January 11 - following its latest firmware patch aimed to defend against the Spectre and Meltdown exploit vulnerabilities.

"We recommend that OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors and end users stop deployment of current versions, as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior", explained Intel VP Navin Shenoy. Assuming testing goes well, we can likely expect Intel to release the fix more broadly.

Of all the companies hit by the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, Intel has been the most exposed, thanks to aggressive memory speculation and its own market dominance. Intel says it has "made good progress in developing a solution", so, assuming its forthcoming patch isn't also busted in some as-of-yet undetermined way, this mess may soon be in the rearview mirror. Much will depend on how the performance penalties and other questions shake out across AMD and Intel platforms as patches and updates continue to roll out. Intel will provide more details about the timing of the fix for these chip architectures this week, according to its updated advisory.

Intel's solution for the Spectre and Meltdown kernel bugs is nearly as bad as the problem.

It's still not clear what the long-term implications of Meltdown and Spectre are for users running systems older than Kaby Lake or Skylake, and the state of communication around these various patches hasn't helped.

Intel is just now getting to the bottom of the problem, having identified the root cause of these issues in Broadwell and Haswell-generation chips. "I assure you we are working around the clock to ensure we are addressing these issues", added Shenoy.