Since early June, Intel has been aware of two bugs in their processors – now infamously named “Meltdown” and “Spectre.” After a series of leaks in late December these hardware vulnerabilities were announced to the public and in early January Intel fully acknowledged reports about the issue. Since then, Intel has been releasing a cascade of patches to address the issue. However, each release has caused some computers to run slower while others, are not able to boot up at all.
MELTDOWN AND SPECTRE
Both Meltdown and Spectre give hacker’s access to highly sensitive information on any computer that was affected by the hardware issues. Any computer that hasn’t been updated recently will unfortunately be vulnerable to being hacked. If you fear that your hardware has been affected we recommend that you update your workstation as quickly as possible and check Intel’s website to be sure you’re up to date with your software. Additionally, if your computer is currently running slowly after updating make sure you’ve downloaded the most recent patch. So far, any patch will likely slow down your computer. Older hardware patches have rendered some computers with Haswell and Broadwell chips unbootable.
Intel has been incredibly slow at patching this issue. As mentioned earlier the area of concern was uncovered in June and the first patches were just recently released. After learning of the danger – Google released its own patch for the Spectre issue. Named Retpoline, Google hopes its patch will help speed up Intel’s own process. Additionally, Google’s Retpoline patch does not negatively impact speed in the same way that Intel’s does. Linus Torvaldis, the creater of Linux and popular software influencer recently released a series of emails in which he explains that Intel’s dragging its feet on the issue. In response, Intel recently released a statment:
“Intel is committed to product and customer security and to responsible disclosure. We worked closely with many other technology companies, including AMD, ARM Holdings and several operating system vendors, to develop an industry-wide approach to mitigate this issue promptly and constructively.”
While these hardware issues can be concerning, Intel has assured that hackers have yet to learn how to attack the issue. As Intel continues to patch their hardware it will become more secure and safer for users while speed concerns dissipate as well. Intel’s advice thus far has been to update your security settings and the newest patches. Be sure to use the Intel website to manually check your your hardware drives to know that you are up-to-date. However, if you have a Haswell or Broadwell CPU and haven’t updated yet, you should wait until Intel’s newest patch is released – that way you won’t deal with speed or booting issues. If you’ve updated and are experiencing major lagging or slow boot times you can manually download an older version on Intel’s website as well. If you’re concerned about your hardware or have any questions feel free to contact us at (213)810-3013 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.