Intel promised to be transparent about its progress to address the Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws, but it has been quite a bumpy road so far. As you may know, the company said that it would issue firmware updates for all its processors from the past five years by the end of the month, but the company already acknowledged some issues last week.
Indeed, Intel VP Navin Shenoy admitted that firmware updates for Haswell and Broadwell processors could cause “higher system reboots.” In a new blog post published yesterday, the exec added that recent patches for the newer Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Skylake, and Kaby Lake architectures can cause similar reboot issues (via Engadget). The good news is that Intel is already working on new firmware updates to address these problems. You can read Shenoy's full explanation below:
We have now issued firmware updates for 90 percent of Intel CPUs introduced in the past five years, but we have more work to do. As I noted in my blog post last week, while the firmware updates are effective at mitigating exposure to the security issues, customers have reported more frequent reboots on firmware updated systems.
As part of this, we have determined that similar behavior occurs on other products in some configurations, including Ivy Bridge-, Sandy Bridge-, Skylake-, and Kaby Lake-based platforms. We have reproduced these issues internally and are making progress toward identifying the root cause. In parallel, we will be providing beta microcode to vendors for validation by next week.
Despite the recently discovered reboot issues, Intel also explained on its Security Center site OEM partners should keep rolling out firmware updates already released to end users to provide protection against Meltdown and Spectre. "We further recommend that OEMs, Cloud service providers, system manufacturers and software vendors begin evaluation of Intel beta microcode update releases in anticipation of definitive root cause and subsequent production releases suitable for end users," the company added.