Meltdown/Spectre Firmware Updates Causing Reboots for Some Intel Customers

Google has now outlined Reptoline's specific impact for Google Cloud Platform services.               Image Google

In the meantime, Microsoft this week said it has "temporarily paused" patches for Windows customers running AMD processors after some users reported seeing the "blue screen of death" after the update was applied.

Be warned: Intel's recent maintenance update - created to address the terrifying Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities - could affect the performance of some of its older Broadwell and Haswell CPUs. Intel processors are susceptible to both Meltdown and Spectre, so that accounts for some of the reaction.

In a on Intel's website, Navin Shenoy, general manager of the company's data centre group, said Intel had received reports about the issue and was working directly with data centre customers to "discuss" the issue. The company was previously advising its bigger customers of the recommendation to delay installation "quietly".

"Intel has continued to work closely with our partners with the shared goal of restoring confidence in the security of our customers' data as quickly as possible", he wrote. For one of the variants of Spectre, which Google says proved to be a lot more problematic, its engineers came up with a technique called "Reptoline", which modifies programs to ensure that execution can not be influenced by an attacker.

While researchers who identified Spectre and Meltdown had warned that software patches could cause device performance hits of up to 30 percent, companies rolling out fixes are finding the impacts can vary widely. Specifically, these systems are running Intel Broadwell and Haswell CPUs for both client and data center. The news story was first reported in Wall Street Journal. The second Variant, which again is part of Spectre, proved much more hard to patch, as Google was specifically trying to avoid a hit to performance.

Just like for Intel CPUs, AMD processors will also require a microcode update to fix this issue.

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