Intel says its Spectre, Meltdown patch is 'faulty', asks users to stop installing it

Intel has now asked technology partners to test the revised patch.

  • Published: January 23, 2018 12:00 PM IST

One of the biggest chip-vulnerabilities in the history of tech led to the discovery of Meltdown and Spectre. The two security flaws affect almost all computers running Intel, AMD, and ARM-based chipsets, with information including passwords and sensitive details potentially at risk. To fix the issue, Intel released patches, which have now been discovered as faulty.

Intel is now asking users not to run the patches owing to a flaw. “I apologize for any disruption this change in guidance may cause,” Intel Vice President Navin Shenoy said in a statement on the company’s website, further adding, “I assure you we are working around the clock to ensure we are addressing these issues.”

Shenoy further explained that the patches released after months of development caused computers to reboot more often than normal, and cause other unpredictable behavior. According to Reuters, the issue of faulty patches is separate from other complaints by customers about slow computer performance after the patches were installed.

An IDC analyst, Mario Morales, is quoted in the report as saying that the failure on Intel’s part to provide a complete solution could cause businesses to postpone purchasing new computers. Morales said Intel is “still trying to get a handle on what’s really happening. They haven’t resolved the matter”. On Saturday, Intel asked technology partners to start testing the new version of the patches.

With Intel advising customers, computer makers and cloud providers to stop installing the older patches and new patches still underway testing, it remains to be seen as to when a stable patch will be rolled out and address the security vulnerability.

To recall, the chipset flaw was first reported earlier this month with Meltdown related to Intel chips and Spectre affecting nearly every modern computing device, including those with chips from Intel. The vulnerabilities make data on affected computers vulnerable to espionage.

Not just Intel, users reported in early January that Microsoft’s patch to mitigate the vulnerability with automatic updates was crocking AMD-powered PCs. Users complained that the Security Update for Windows KB4056892, Redmond’s Meltdown/Spectre patch, leaves some AMD PCs with the Windows 7 or 10 startup logo and not much more.

  • Published Date: January 23, 2018 12:00 PM IST