Intel warns everyone not to download its Spectre and Meltdown patch

Assuming testing goes well, we can likely expect Intel to release the fix more broadly.

In a blog post, Intel said new patches for Broadwell and Haswell-based computers - chips that are two generations removed from the current Skylake design - are being tested by "industry partners", which nearly assuredly includes the Big Three cloud computing providers in Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Google.

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".

The company is advising people to stay far away from its patch after users complained that it caused their machines to reboot. "The security of our products is critical for Intel, our customers and partners, and for me, personally". At least for Windows users, patches such as the one Intel issued typically come through the Windows Update feature, not from Intel itself.

Intel initially believed the reboot problem was limited to firmware updated systems running its older Broadwell and Haswell CPUs.

While this means that systems will be unprotected from Spectre and Meltdown, there are now no known attack vectors that are being actively used against PC systems (yet).

Indeed, in virtually the next breath after telling users not to install this particular patch, Shenoy advised users to keep their computers updated - a decidedly mixed message at best.

Intel has also faced concerns the patches will slow down chip performance, and announced last week that speeds on patched chips could take a hit of 6 percent or less. To learn what updates you might need, see CNET's list of Spectre and Meltdown updates. However, it appears to be problematic for those on Broadwell or Haswell. The company said Thursday newer chip models called Kaby Lake and Skylake are also affected.

  • Joe Gonzales