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Intel Rolls Out Meltdown And Spectre Patches, Then Warns Against Installing Them Due To Glitches

Intel rolled out some patches to fix the dreaded Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, but it is now advising customers not to install these security updates.

Meltdown and Spectre are recently discovered significant design flaws in Intel chips that exposes users to the risk of their data being compromised by hackers.

Intel Meltdown And Spectre Patches Causing Random Reboots

Intel recently promised that all the necessary Meltdown and Spectre fixes will be rolled out by the end of January. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, however, said that users may experience performance slowdowns on their computers after applying the security updates, which is a warning that was also given by Microsoft for older computers running on Windows 7 or Windows 8.

The Meltdown and Spectre patches that Intel have so far released apparently do more than just degrade the speed of machines, though.

In a statement from Intel, the company's executive VP and general manager of the Data Center Group Navin Shenoy noted that there have been reports from certain customers of higher system reboots after the installation of firmware updates. The systems affected by the bugs are said to be the computers running on Intel's Broadwell and Haswel chips.

"We are working quickly with these customers to understand, diagnose and address this reboot issue," Shenoy promised.

However, in the meantime, Intel is warning customers to hold off on installing the patches, according to e-mail acquired by The Wall Street Journal.

"It doesn't surprise me a lot that there would be some hiccups," said Paul Kocher, a security researcher who discovered some of the problems in Intel chips.

Applying the necessary patches to the CPU firmware is considered to be the most difficult task in providing protection against Meltdown and Spectre, compared to the operating system and internet browser patches that have already been released. The CPU firmware patches are also the most likely to slow down computer performance, but by exactly how much is still unclear.

The Danger Of The Meltdown And Spectre Vulnerabilities

Hackers may exploit the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities to steal sensitive data stored in computers and mobile devices through a side-channel analysis attack. This basically means that hackers can break into kernel memory and access the information inside, though that is supposedly the most secure area in a CPU.

The best course that users can follow for Meltdown and Spectre protection is to install the latest updates for their internet browsers and operating systems. Upgrading CPU firmware is also needed, but customers should all hold off on that for now, as per Intel's warning.

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