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Intel: Spectre Patch Reboot Issue Affects Newer Chips, Too

CPUs & Components

Intel: Spectre Patch Reboot Issue Affects Newer Chips, Too

In addition to Broadwell- and Haswell-based platforms, the reboot problem is affecting some firmware updated systems running Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Skylake, and Kaby Lake chips.

The reboot problem affecting Spectre/Meltdown-patched systems is more widespread than initially thought, Intel announced Wednesday.

Last week, Intel revealed that "a few customers" have experienced higher-than-usual system reboots after applying the firmware updates. At that time, Navin Shenoy, Intel's Data Center Group EVP and General Manager, said the problem hit firmware updated systems running Intel's older Broadwell and Haswell CPUs. Now we know the problem affects newer chips as well.

"We have determined that similar behavior occurs on other products in some configurations, including Ivy Bridge-, Sandy Bridge-, Skylake-, and Kaby Lake-based platforms," Navin wrote in a Wednesday blog post. "We have reproduced these issues internally and are making progress toward identifying the root cause."


As it works to find the root cause of this reboot problem, Intel plans to "start making beta microcode updates available to OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, and software vendors next week for internal evaluation purposes," the company wrote.

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Despite the reboot problem, Intel says all current updates offer protection against Spectre Variant 2. Meanwhile, "Variants 1 (Spectre) and Variant 3 (Meltdown) continue to be mitigated through system software changes from operating system and virtual machine vendors," Intel wrote. For more information, see this Intel Security Center page.

At this point, Intel has issued firmware updates for 90 percent of CPUs it has introduced in the past five years. The Meltdown and Spectre flaws relate to how a CPU handles tasks that it thinks a PC will need to perform in the future, known as speculative execution. According to Google's Project Zero security team, in a worst case scenario the flaws could be exploited to reap sensitive information from these commands-in-waiting.

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