The news from Intel that the CPU microcode update, which it issued to patch the Spectre vulnerability, was inducing random system reboots just made the Meltdown/Spectre issue go from bad to worse. Specifically, it is causing unexpected reboot issues.
A new version of the Meltdown/Spectre patches has been developed and is now in testing, Intel said. Intel has asked its partners to focus on testing early versions of the updated fix so it can accelerate the release.
In short, while computing device vendors and other Intel partners work with Intel to fix these issues at the top level and hopefully avoid these faulty patches, the firm also asking end users to stay away from the latest processor updates.
The firm says the patches, which began rolling out recently, were also resulting in unpredictable system behaviour. There was no indication of when Intel will release an updated fix, although the industry is very concerned about the ability of attackers to exploit the vulnerabilities.
Intel initially was recommending that users continue to update despite the issue.
With Apple having their own remediation in progress, to fix the same issues on their home-grown processors for iOS devices, and AMD also caught up in this (although to a much lesser extent than Intel) this issue is one of the most pervasive and hard to remedy vulnerabilities I can recall.
Meltdown removes the barrier between user applications and sensitive parts of the operating system.
In Monday's announcement, Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of Intel's Data Center Group, called upon OEM device builders, system manufacturers and service providers to "stop deployment of current versions [of the Intel firmware updates], as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior". It claims to have found the root cause of the issue in Haswell (4th-generation) and Broadwell (5th-generation) chips but didn't name older or newer processor families, like Ivy Bridge, Skylake, Kaby Lake, and Coffee Lake.