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Intel Wi-Fi update ate my CPU cycles

Memory leak glitch

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Security researchers have identified performance problems with a recent wireless driver security update from Intel. Vulnerabilities in Centrino device drivers for Windows and Intel's PROSet management software prompted a security update three weeks ago.

The initial update weighed in at more than 100MB, though Intel did produce a slimmed-down update soon after. The current driver release for the 2915ABG/2200BG wireless cards is 9.0.4.17.

Unfortunately, software installed (S24EvMON.exe) with this Wi-Fi driver is leaky, consuming considerable CPU and memory resources and thereby hitting on the performance of PCs with the software installed, researchers at net security firm F-Secure have discovered.

The firm used Process Explorer from Sysinternals to identify the source of performance problems it began to notice. Intel is aware of the issue and is working on a revised fix.

Although the performance hit is undesirable, leaving systems unpatched is even more of a problem. The SANS Institute has put together an advisory, more suited to sys admins and the technically knowledgeable, which outlines performance loss mitigation strategies. ®

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