Meltdown: Intel now asking everyone to skip flawed firmware updates

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If you own a PC or Mac using an Intel processor and have been patiently waiting for Spectre and Meltdown patches appear on Windows Update or Mac App Store updates, you shouldn't download it. In a blog post published today, the company's executive vice president, Neil Shenoy, warned users of technical issues, urging them to hold off on downloading the fix until it can patch its patch. "The security of our products is critical for Intel, our customers and partners, and for me, personally". Intel is, however, working on a new firmware update to address the random reboot issues.

Intel's announcement is likely to cause confusion for many consumers. Earlier in January, Windows halted updates to computers with chips made by AMD when reports surfaced that some computers shut down and couldn't be rebooted after users installed the updates. It can be hard to comb through those updates to weed out and avoid particular ones.

In the meantime, computer users were advised to be vigilante with security practices. Spectre affected almost every modern computing device, including those with chips from those companies and Advanced Micro Devices. The attacks, which became public earlier this month, could allow a malicious actor to exploit that vulnerability and get access to the secret data that's on a computer, including passwords.

Meltdown was specific to chips from Intel, as well as one from Softbank Group Corp's ARM Holdings. Now, Intel seems to be giving up on those patches entirely. We have reproduced these issues internally and are making progress toward identifying the root cause. It's testing a new patch with partners, he said.

Intel first acknowledged the problem more than a week ago, saying chips in the company's lines called Broadwell and Haswell were causing problems after receiving updates.

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.