Intel Releases Updated Microcode For Meltdown and Spectre

Joshua Bennett
February 23, 2018

Intel said its new updates will be made available through OEM firmware updates and will encompass all Core desktop chips from Skylake onwards, in addition to Xeon Scalable and Xeon D server processors.

Users with Broadwell and Haswell processors in their machines have still not received a patch to protect them from Spectre and the chipmaker has claimed that microcode updates are now in the beta stage for Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Broadwell and Haswell processors. The Inquirer did not receive any information on the performance hit of these new fixes, though they should be comparable to the effect of the originals. Navin Shenoy, the Executive vice president of Intel, noted the company will be sharing more soon and also expressed "sincere appreciation" for Intel customers and partners who are supporting the company.

Over the past several weeks, Intel has been developing and validating updated microcode solutions to protect customers against the security exploits disclosed by Google Project Zero.

For most of the year Intel has been frantically trying to mitigate the damage Meltdown and Spectre exploits could cause to its CPUs. That patch caused systems to become unstable and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Lenovo delayed the rolling out of the patches.

The updates address variant 2 - the branch injection vulnerability - of the Spectre chip flaw revealed early this year.

In general, PC users will have to wait for their system or motherboard vendor to provide an updated firmware that contains the microcode. "On behalf of all of Intel, I thank each and every one of our customers and partners for their hard work and partnership throughout this process".

In a press release published on Tuesday, Intel announced it resumed the deployment of CPU microcode firmware updates.

However, while installing the latest patch is always recommended, users should also be wary of mischief makers who could be masquerading as the company representative and offer a dubious piece of codes that end up hacking their systems instead of securing those.

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