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Intel issues corrected firmware updates to tackle Meltdown / Spectre flaws

A little more than a week ago, Microsoft released emergency Windows updates to deactivate previous buggy security updates from Intel. This happened after the chip maker acknowledged that its firmware updates meant to address the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities could cause system instability, including random reboots.

Since the whole saga has been pretty embarrassing for the company, Intel has been busy developing a series of new firmware updates for its CPUs released over the past five years. After identifying the root cause of the instability issues in the previous patches, Intel announced yesterday that it’s rolling out new firmware updates for PCs with Skylake processors (via Thurrott.com). Navin Shenoy executive vice president and general manager of the Data Center Group at Intel explained:

Earlier this week, we released production microcode updates for several Skylake-based platforms to our OEM customers and industry partners, and we expect to do the same for more platforms in the coming days. We also continue to release beta microcode updates so that customers and partners have the opportunity to conduct extensive testing before we move them into production. Ultimately, these updates will be made available in most cases through OEM firmware updates.

Shenoy reiterated that the company is also developing new firmware updates for other impacted Intel architectures including Broadwell, Haswell and the more recent Kaby Lake. It’s clear that the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities will have a huge impact on Intel’s activity this year, and the chip maker already announced that new processors with built-in protections against the two security exploits would come later this year.

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