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Intel promises better transparency as Meltdown patches cause Broadwell/Haswell borkage

Intel promises better transparency as Meltdown patches cause Broadwell/Haswell borkage

CHIPMAKER Intel has promised to be more “transparent” about the whole Meltdown/Spectre hoo-hah following complaints that patches causing reboot borkage.

Some users of Intel’s older Broadwell and Haswell CPUs have been quick to complain that since installing patches, which Microsoft this week warned could cause “significant” performance issues, they have experienced increased reboots.

Navin Shenoy, executive VP and general manager of Intel’s Data Centre Group, spoke out about the issue in a blog post and said the firm is working to “diagnose and address” the problem.

“We have received reports from a few customers of higher system reboots after applying firmware updates. Specifically, these systems are running Intel Broadwell and Haswell CPUs for both client and data centre,” Shenoy said.

“We are working quickly with these customers to understand, diagnose and address this reboot issue. If this requires a revised firmware update from Intel, we will distribute that update through the normal channels. 

“We are also working directly with data centre customers to discuss the issue.”

In a separate post, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich – who earlier this week promised security patches by the end of the month – has made a three-step “security first pledge” to the technology industry.

These pledges, which Krzanich describes as “Intel’s commitments to our customers”, are as follows:

  1. Customer-First Urgency: By 15 Jan, we will have issued updates for at least 90 per cent of Intel CPUs introduced in the past five years, with updates for the remainder of these CPUs available by the end of January. We will then focus on issuing updates for older products as prioritized by our customers.
  2. Transparent and Timely Communications: As we roll out software and firmware patches, we are learning a great deal. We know that impact on performance varies widely, based on the specific workload, platform configuration and mitigation technique. We commit to provide frequent progress reports of patch progress, performance data and other information. These can be found at the website.
  3. Ongoing Security Assurance: Our customers’ security is an ongoing priority, not a one-time event. To accelerate the security of the entire industry, we commit to publicly identify significant security vulnerabilities following rules of responsible disclosure and, further, we commit to working with the industry to share hardware innovations that will accelerate industry-level progress in dealing with side-channel attacks. We also commit to adding incremental funding for academic and independent research into potential security threats.

According to reports, Intel also on this seek informed staffers about the creation of a new security group. In a memo seen by the Oregonian, Krzanich tells employees: “It is critical that we continue to work with the industry, to excel at customer satisfaction, to act with uncompromising integrity, and to achieve the highest standards of excellence.

“Simply put, I want to ensure we continue to respond appropriately, diligently, and with a customer-first attitude.”

The group, called Intel Product Assurance and Security, will reportedly be headed up Intel human resources chief Leslie Culbertson. µ

Source : Inquirer

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