Intel fixes Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities with updates and new chips

Spectre will be fixed by adding partitioning to Intel's newest chips

Intel has revealed it's taken steps to fix the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in its chips, announcing 100% of its products launched over the past five years have now received a microcode update to protect against the former threat, while new hardware will address the latter.

The company's boss said Intel has redesigned parts of its processor architecture to make use of partitioning and this will appear in its next-generation Xeon processors (Cascade Lake) and 8th generation Intel Core processors, due to arrive in the second half of the year. The partitioning will work by providing an extra barrier between applications and user privileges to prevent hackers using said privileges to gain access to sensitive data.

However, new hardware won't repel Spectre attacks and users will need to ensure they keep up to date with all firmware updates the company rolls out to its processors, sometimes at the detriment of processing performance. Previous updates the company rolled out to rectify the performance issues resulted in some systems getting stuck in a reboot cycle, which then forced Microsoft to fix the issue by allowing admins to roll back their updates. 

"The security landscape is constantly evolving and we know that there will always be new threats," Brian Krzanich, Intel's CEO said. "This was the impetus for the Security-First Pledge I penned in January. Intel has a long history of focusing on security, and now, more than ever, we are committed to the principles I outlined in that pledge: customer-first urgency, transparent and timely communications, and ongoing security assurance."

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Although this latest update from intel shows the company is trying its hardest to get back on track, the company's reputation has been left damaged by the vulnerabilities first discovered by Google.

"I encourage everyone to make sure they are always keeping their systems up-to-date," Krzanich advised. "It's one of the easiest ways to stay protected."

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