Hi-Tech

Intel: Meltdown/Spectre patches also cause reboots on newer processors

Intel: Meltdown/Spectre patches also cause reboots on newer processors

The update contains patches for 237 Oracle products for Intel machines that are affected by the flaws.

When it was revealed last week that Intel was advising many of its larger customers to delay installing patches for the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities due to a bug, the company had claimed only older Haswell and Broadwell processors were affected.

"As part of this, we have determined that similar behaviour occurs on other products in some configurations, including Ivy Bridge-, Sandy Bridge-, Skylake-, and Kaby Lake-based platforms", Shenoy says.

"After investigating, Microsoft has determined that some AMD chipsets do not conform to the documentation previously provided to Microsoft to develop the Windows operating system mitigations to protect against the chipset vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown", Microsoft said in a support page. He also said the company would send out initial versions of fixes for the buggy patches to customers by next week.

Almost all computers worldwide, and many other devices like smartphones, have been exposed to the Meltdown and Spectre security gaps leaving them vulnerable to hacker attacks.




In rather more positive news, Shenoy also says that good progress has been made in identifying the root cause of the problem.

The first, called Meltdown, affects Intel chips and lets hackers bypass the hardware barrier between applications run by users and the computer's memory, potentially letting hackers read a computer's memory and steal passwords.

Intel has already said that it believes that there are other options that will mitigate the performance drop, most notably Google's Retpoline patch, which is said to have an nearly zero impact. According to Intel's internal testing, the biggest impact can be found in flexible input-output (FIO) storage workloads where 100 percent 4K write workloads drop 18 percent post-patch and in iSCSI implementations where single-core performance drops 25 percent. For common tasks such as running website servers, the patches caused a 2 per cent slowdown, Intel said.

An online transaction processing (OLTP) benchmark simulating modeling a brokerage firm's customer-broker-stock exchange interaction showed a 4 percent impact.

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