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The Meltdown and Spectre security threats aren’t dead yet, but Intel is bringing out its guns.

Earlier this week, Intel issued production microcode updates for Skylake platforms to OEM customers and industry partners.

Next, Intel “expects to do the same for more platforms in the coming days,” writes the GM of the company’s data-center group, Navin Shenoy, in a Feb. 7 blog post.

For end users, Shenoy adds, the updates will be made available by hardware OEMs as firmware updates.

Navin Shenoy of Intel

“We remain as committed as ever to addressing these issues.”  - Navin Shenoy of Intel

Root cause

The move follows Intel’s announcement on Jan. 22 that it had identified the root cause of the reboot issue affecting Broadwell and Haswell microcode updates.

That’s also when Intel began rolling out an early version of the updated solution to industry partners for testing.

At that time, the company said it would make a final release available once that testing has been completed.

Recommendations

What to do now? Intel has issued the following recommendations:

> OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors and end users should stop deployment of selected microcode versions, as these may introduce higher-than-expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior.

> Industry partners should focus on testing early versions of the updated solutions.

> End users should vigilantly maintain security best practice and keep their systems up-to-date.

You can also review these 2 recently updated Intel documents:

> A full list of affected systems: Updated yesterday, this document lists all Intel processors known to be affected by the Meltdown and Spectre security threats. It also provides important recommendations,

> Microcode Revision Guidance: Published yesterday, this PDF shows which Intel CPUs you should stop microcode updates on, as well as those it’s now safe to continue updating.

You can also review this full list of Intel’s security research findings, performance data results dating back to Jan. 3, plus links to helpful resources from Intel and others.

Stay safe out there!

 

Blog Category: 
Cloud and Data Centers