Intel promises fixed Spectre patch to stop PCs rebooting

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With some customers reporting system instability after installing previous fixes, the company is scrambling to deliver reliable patches.

After it acknowledged two weeks ago that its initial fix for the Meltdown and Spectre flaws was itself flawed for users of older systems, Intel said Monday it has identified the "root cause" behind the problematic patches and will roll out updated patches later this week.

More than six months after Google informed Intel that almost all the computers on the planet released in the last 20 years have security holes thanks to a chip design flaw, Intel seems no closer to completely addressing the Meltdown and Spectre issues than it did when it first went public with the news in early January. The patches, which the company spent months crafting, cause computers to reboot more often than normal. There was no indication of when Intel will release an updated fix, although the industry is very concerned about the ability of attackers to exploit the vulnerabilities.

The company published a full list of Intel-based platforms that are impacted by this problem, and it's quite long. 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.

So, it seems that after applying Intel firmware updates to systems running Intel Broadwell and Haswell CPUs, those same systems began suffering from unexpected reboots.

In Monday's announcement, Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of Intel's Data Center Group, called upon OEM device builders, system manufacturers and service providers to "stop deployment of current versions [of the Intel firmware updates], as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior". "I assure you we are working around the clock to ensure we are addressing these issues".