In case you’ve been living under a rock, the PC world was rocked with two security issues on many different systems. These security holes were known as Meltdown and Spectre, and they have caused quite a bit of trouble for many of the tech companies. Intel has issued a patch to fix the problem, but now Intel’s Meltdown and Spectre patches seems to be causing reboot problems on many computers running older processors which could affect your older or refurbished laptop or PC.
It seems that many users who have run the security patches have found that their systems crash or need more frequent reboots than they did before. That’s not a very good sign.
“We have received reports from a few customers of higher system reboots after applying firmware updates. Specifically, these systems are running Intel Broadwell and Haswell CPUs for both client and data center. We are working quickly with these customers to understand, diagnose and address this reboot issue. If this requires a revised firmware update from Intel, we will distribute that update through the normal channels. We are also working directly with data center customers to discuss the issue,” Intel said.
Basically, the patches now need a patch to fix the problem, although Intel hasn’t come out and said that for a fact. But at the same time while they are not admitting that the patch itself was flawed, they are releasing a patch for the patch through all their normal software channels.
This news was closely preceded by a Wall Street Journal article revealing that Intel was quietly telling customers not to upgrade to the latest firmware. It seems the WSJ got a hold of a document stating “delay additional deployments of these microcode updates” while it figures out the reboot issue.
So what do you do? Well, the good news is that you won’t have to do anything special. According to Intel, all you will have to do is to continue to apply the latest updates and patches as they are released through your normal update notification systems. End-users should continue to apply updates recommended by their system and operating system providers.
Personally, the Meltdown and Spectre issues are quite serious, so I would recommend updating your system, despite the fact that you may have to reboot your machine a little more often on the short term. Even with Intel’s Meltdown and Spectre Patches causing reboots, chances are Intel will figure out what went wrong with the patch and issue a new one to replace it or fix the problem for those that have already run the update very shortly. So there is a good chance you will only have to deal with the increased reboots for a few days at most. Still, if you are concerned and reboots aren’t acceptable, you may want to wait for Intel to release their latest rounds of patches. Just remember that your system will continue to be vulnerable to both Spectre and Meltdown until you run the latest fixes.
This is a black eye in many ways for Intel, as if the trouble with these security holes wasn’t enough. Hopefully, they will figure out what is causing the increase in reboots on the older processors and issue a patch, so everyone can get back to business as usual.