In light of the Spectre and Meltdown security issues embedded in CPUs across the board, Intel put out an early version of a firmware update to help resolve the problem. However, Intel itself has come out and said that it is now recommending against using the updated firmware in its current state due to system instability and crashes.
Intel executive VP Navin Shenoy gave an official statement. In part, he said the following: “We recommend that OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors and end users stop deployment of current versions, as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior.”
Shenoy continued to explain that firmware testing is continuing in hopes of releasing a final version as soon as possible, but no time table was given. Intel also said that its discovered what’s causing the instability in Broadwell (5th-gen) and Haswell (4th-gen) CPUs, but other CPU architectures are still affected to varying degrees.
Microsoft rolled out an emergency OS update for Windows earlier this month as a quick way to mitigate system vulnerabilities, but it may affect overall performance depending on processor model and the specific task its running. Some AMD users had trouble getting their system to boot with the initial Windows updates earlier in the month and had to wait for a more stable version to come out.
The security risk itself is fundamentally at the hardware level. Essentially, a CPU kernel memory leak potentially leaves personal data exposed and vulnerable to exploits and malicious software attacks. AMD has said there is a “near-zero” chance of this happening with its hardware.
For more information on what these Spectre/Meltdown security issues and how it can affect PC gaming, check out our rundown of five things you need to know about. If you want more technical details and how CPU manufacturers Intel, AMD, and ARM responded, check out our initial story on the issue.
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