Intel Identifies Spectre And Meltdown Patch Reboot Bug Root Cause

Intel has a pretty big Spectre/Meltdown problem on its hands. The company over the past few weeks has issued patches to help mitigate the processor vulnerabilities, but those patches have resulted in frequent reboots of both older (Broadwell, Haswell) and newer (Skylake, Kaby Lake) processors, and everything in between.

Intel is now telling customers to forgo installing the Spectre and Meltdown patches due to lingering issues that it has confirmed with customers, and identified in its own testing. In addition, Intel says that it has identified the root cause for the reboots.

"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," said Navin Shenoy, Executive VP and GM for Intel's Data Center Group.

While this means that systems will be unprotected from Spectre and Meltdown, there are currently no known attack vectors that are being actively used against PC systems (yet). That’s of little consolation for customers that want these exploits shutdown right now, but it’s better than having critical systems rebooting at inopportune times. In the meantime, Intel is rolling out "early versions" of an updated software patch to some of its closest industry partners for validation.

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"We ask that our industry partners focus efforts on testing early versions of the updated solution so we can accelerate its release," added Shenoy. Once this initial phase of testing is completed, Intel will then release an updated patch that will [hopefully] not result in unexpected reboots for customers.

"We continue to urge all customers to vigilantly maintain security best practice and for consumers to keep systems up-to-date," Shenoy continued. "The security of our products is critical for Intel, our customers and partners, and for me, personally."

Not only has Intel come under the most scrutiny in the aftermath following the disclosure of the chip vulnerabilities, but Intel's products are the only PC-class processors vulnerable to both Spectre and Meltdown.