Microsoft has sprung into action with an emergency Windows update which deals with issues caused by Intel's Meltdown and Spectre firmware patches. Intel admitted last week its fixes for the kernel-level vulnerability were buggy, causing machines to randomly reboot.
This has been a bad month for Intel. While the company should have been focusing on new product launches, it has been embroiled in a scandal. Meltdown and Spectre is a flaw found in a majority of the company's chips. Intel issued a patch, but it was faulty from the start. Worse, the company buried the information in financial results, saying the patch could lead to “data loss or corruption.”
Last week, Intel told PC makers and users to halt updates of the firmware until a solution is found:
“We have now issued firmware updates for 90 percent of Intel CPUs introduced in the past five years, but we have more work to do. As I noted in my blog post last week, while the firmware updates are effective at mitigating exposure to the security issues, customers have reported more frequent reboots on firmware updated systems.”
Microsoft is hardly clean in all of this. The company, along with Intel and other tech giants kept Meltdown and Spectre secret for seven months. However, once it was leaked, the company did issue a quick update to shore up Windows against the flaw.
The new patch is rolled into the Windows Update catalog, so you will have to download it manually here. Microsoft has also sent out a new registry key setting which allows IT admins to enable or disable Intel's patches manually.
Intel said a week ago the patch problems even affect its newer Skylake and Kaby Lake processors. However, the company said it has found the issue and is working on a new update which should solve the problem. Once that is released, users will once again have stable protection against Meltdown and Spectre.