Intel is attempting to patch Spectre again today with the rollout of patches for Kaby Lake-, Coffee Lake-, and Skylake-based platforms. The updates will cover the company’s sixth, seventh, and eighth-generation Intel Core product lines, as well as the X-series processor family. The Xeon Scalable and Intel Xeon D processors for data center systems will also be protected. The updates will be issued through OEM firmware pushes.
Intel previously issued a patch to address Spectre, but then had to tell users to stop deploying the fix because it sometimes caused computers to spontaneously reboot. At the time, executive vice president Navin Shenoy recommended users skip the patches until a better version could be deployed, which appears to be the fix announced today. Shenoy writes that this new patch has been extensively tested.
Still, this patch comes nearly two months after the CPU flaws were first exposed publicly and nearly nine months after they were first reported to Intel. The company initially played the flaws off as nothing major, saying that, “for the average computer user, [they] should not be significant and [would] be mitigated over time.” It also promised a patch within a week of the Spectre and Meltdown being publicly disclosed.
Even with its chill tone and extra lead time, the company has struggled to adequately address the issue. It still isn’t wildly sounding the alarm now, but it’s becoming obvious that the company downplayed its struggles to fix the flaws.