Intel on Monday told hardware makers and end users to stop deploying its firmware patch for Spectre CPU attack due to it causing "higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior". However, Intel noted at the time that the general public was not directly affected, and recommended that home consumers continue installing patches put out by their system and operating system providers. In fact, an early version of the updated solution has begun rolling out to industry partners initially.
The announcement of the alternative update doesn't inspire confidence that this reboot issue will be fixed shortly.
Intel is just now getting to the bottom of the problem, having identified the root cause of these issues in Broadwell and Haswell-generation chips.
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.
Intel recently promised that all of its processors from the past five years would be protected against the Meltdown/Spectre vulnerabilities by the end of January, and this is proving to be more hard than expected.
"I apologize for any disruption this change in guidance may cause", notes Intel Executive Vice President Navin Shenoy. However, Intel says it is also working to create a new version of its original update that removes Spectre variant 2-related fixes, but maintains Spectre variant 1 and Meltdown fixes. No word on a fix for other processors for now, but the founder will hopefully share more details soon. The same issues have been happening on Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Skylake, and Kaby Lake processors too; Intel says it's "actively working on developing solutions" for those platforms as well.