Processor maker tells users to stop installing patches following Meltdown and Spectre security flaws.
Earlier this month, news broke that Intel microchips contained a serious flaw or two, ones that potentially left the door wide open to hackers. Everything from smartphones to laptops to servers were vulnerable, and researchers scrambled to figure out just what the flaws were capable of doing while manufacturers and developers worked to create a patch.
Meltdown and Spectre, as it turns out, were only one part of the problem. The rest of the issue now seems to rest with the patch that Intel released; it led to an increase in shutdowns and slow booting, along with “unpredictable” behavior from the device. Some sources experienced as much as 20% slowdown for servers with a high volume of data.
Essentially, Intel began investigating the cause for the lack of efficiency and is now telling PC makers and cloud service providers to avoid the patch. This could pose a significant problem if not resolved in the next few weeks, as the US is about to undergo tax return season; with the upcoming issue of tax refunds to consumers, a number of retailers host significant sales on electronics and other high-dollar items. Anyone considering a new device purchase in the next few weeks should do some serious homework about whether or not the device is secured.
Intel has been coming under fire for its plans to fix the problem moving forward. Rather than overhaul its flawed chips, the company initially planned to move forward with those chips but attempt to fix the problem via (you guessed it) a patch. The company’s statement didn’t sit well with some industry experts who feel that it is akin to knowingly selling a faulty and potentially vulnerable product while relying on less-than-stable software to correct it.
Some reports indicate that there is no short-term solution for either the flaws or the bad patch, but that work is underway to correct it. However, some experts have already stated that any method Intel deploys to secure its chips will automatically result in slower processing speeds.