Security

Intel adopts Orwellian irony with call for fast Meltdown-Spectre action after slow patch delivery

For now, have some code that won't crash Skylakes and stay close to your Telescreens

By Simon Sharwood

57 SHARE

Intel's offered the world some helpful advice about how to handle the Meltdown and Spectre chip design flaws it foisted on the world.

"I can't emphasize enough how critical it is for everyone to always keep their systems up-to-date," wrote Navin Shenoy, executive veep and general manager of Intel's data centre group, bemoaning the fact that punters are slow to install patches and criminals use that tardiness to do their worst.

Sound advice, but a bit hard to swallow given that Shenoy's "Security Issue Update" revealed that Intel is yet to develop properly working microcode updates for many of the CPUs imperilled by Spectre and Meltdown. The effort to do so turned out to be more complicated than Intel thought, as some of its early updates made the silicon unstable. So unstable, in fact, that Intel recommended rollback as the best option.

Chipzilla has managed to sort out sixth-generation Skylakes, as a February 7th Microcode Revision Guidance (PDF) document records.

But Shenoy's post - the first on Meltdown/Spectre to grace Intel's newsroom since January 22nd - also explained that the company "expects" to have working microcode or other platforms in coming days. Just what will land or when is anyone's guess.

The post also points out that PC-and-server-makers, not Intel, will be the source of the fixes.

There's more irony in Shenoy's signoff, which says "We remain as committed as ever to addressing these issues and providing transparent and timely information."

Given that Intel approved the formation of a small cabal of OEMs to address the problem and kept their efforts secret for months, then dodged questions from the press and has now been asked to explain itself by the US congress, we hope Shenoy is talking about some form of transparency other than Intel's previous action as this crisis unfolded. ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily

57 Comments

More from The Register

Linux 4.19 lets you declare your trust in AMD, IBM and Intel

Wave the CPU trust flag if you're feeling safe enough

Love Microsoft Teams? Love Linux? Then you won't love this

Updated Learn to love the browser instead

Arm cozies up to Intel for second time in a week – this time to borrow tools from Yocto Project for Mbed Linux

Aww, ain't that sweet

SUSE and Microsoft give enterprise Linux an Azure tune-up

Veteran penguin botherer feels the need. For speed

STIBP, collaborate and listen: Linus floats Linux kernel that 'fixes' Intel CPUs' Spectre slowdown

Meanwhile: Another kernel dev is 'unfscking' the source code, with predictable results

WLinux brings a custom Windows Subsystem for Linux experience to the Microsoft Store

What's better than one Linux distro? Dozens of 'em, of course!

Linux kernel Spectre V2 defense fingered for massively slowing down unlucky apps on Intel Hyper-Thread CPUs

This is on by default? 'Yikes' says Chipzilla fellow

Microsoft ports its Quantum Development Kit to Linux and macOS

Now that it's not Windows-only, you can simulate a theoretical computer on a real computer

Microsoft loves Linux so much its R Open install script rm'd /bin/sh

Machine-learning suite ends its sloppy packaging ways after Debian dev roasts Redmond

Wintel part deux? Microsoft Azure first for Intel Clear Linux

Stateless Linux data center released into the wilds