Meltdown: Intel now asking everyone to skip flawed firmware updates

To check whether your system may have a problem, check the full list of processors at the Intel Product Security center.

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. 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.

This unfortunate development came to light Monday, when Intel issued an official statement telling a groups of its customers to just slow their roll when it comes to updating their critically vulnerable systems.

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Intel says that it has root-caused the issue on Haswell and Broadwell systems and that it has already issued a version of the fix to hardware partners, which are now testing it. Intel's official advisory to hardware partners hasn't changed: Don't issue anymore of the bugged update and start testing the new one.

In addition to the firmware update releases by chip vendors, operating system vendors have released updates for the Meltdown and Spectre attack methods.

Intel hasn't said when fixed patches will be available for other architectures, but notes that the Broadwell and Haswell fixes should help it address the reboot problems on other platforms.

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Navin Shenoy, Intel's vice president of data centres, apologised for the the disruption and advised all users to stop applying the current patches.

Now that a fix is in testing, Intel is recommending that "OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors and end users stop deployment of current versions" to limit the impact of unexpected reboots with current updates. "I assure you we are working around the clock to ensure we are addressing these issues", added Shenoy.

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