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Intel Haswell and Broadwell Reboot Issue Cause Identified

Intel Haswell and Broadwell Reboot Issue Cause Identified

Intel's decision to pause the updates comes amid criticism from technical experts of the industry's approach to patching Spectre and Meltdown.

Intel on Monday told hardware makers and end users to stop deploying its firmware patch for Spectre CPU attack due to it causing "higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior".

Shenoy said until the new patches were tested and then issued, OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors and end users should hold off from applying current versions of the patches as they could cause reboots and other unpredictable behaviour. Intel will provide more details about the timing of the fix for these chip architectures this week, according to its updated advisory.

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A new version of the Meltdown/Spectre patches has been developed and is now in testing, Intel said. He advised users of Intel processors to follow security best practices and to keep systems patched. In December, a critical flaw was discovered in all modern processors that let attackers use low-privileged apps to read the memory of a computer's kernel, the central part of an operating system, giving them the ability to steal sensitive data like passwords, files, and security keys. Both updates typically are needed, particularly to ward off Spectre-type attacks, Microsoft explained earlier this month. The stability issues were initially thought to be contained to older Broadwell and Haswell chips, but Intel confirmed last week it was also happening on Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Skylake, and Kaby Lake processors. In that post, he had suggested that vendors would get firmware updates for those processors sometime this week.

On a positive note, Intel has identified the root cause of this problem for Broadwell and Haswell platforms and "made good progress in developing a solution to address it", Shenoy wrote. So far, things haven't gone smoothly.