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Intel pushes out fresh Spectre patch for Skylake machines after initial borkage

INTEL HAS RELEASED a fresh microcode update to tackle the Spectre flaw for Skylake processors after the initial patch made a right mess of things.

The chipmaker was forced to advise its customers to not to use the initial patch it pushed out to exorcise the Spectre flaw, as the rushed fix was causing Broadwell and Haswell CPUs to randomly reboot, putting data and computer health at risk.

Intel then revealed it was working on a fresh batch of patches, of which the first one out of the door and ready for full release is the Skylake patch; patches for other processors currently remain in beta.

“Earlier this week, we released production microcode updates for several Skylake-based platforms to our OEM customers and industry partners, and we expect to do the same for more platforms in the coming days,” Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of the Data Centre Group at Intel.

“We also continue to release beta microcode updates so that customers and partners have the opportunity to conduct extensive testing before we move them into production.”

So it looks like the new Spectre patch will be baked into machines sporting Skylake chips and pushed out by computer makers to their customers.

There’s no word on when to expect a production-ready update for older CPU models, but Shenoy did say they can be expected in “the coming days”.

The patches aim to prevent the Spectre flaw from being used to trick a CPUs branch predictor feature into making a bad prediction, thereby enabling hackers to deduce the value of data stored in-memory and gain secure information on applications that should be out of their reach.

Spectre is not as easily exploited as the Meltdown flaw that affects Intel CPUs and ARM’s A-75 processor, but it is still a bug that needs to be squashed otherwise given time hackers could become au fait with finding ways to exploit it. µ

Source : Inquirer

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