Technology

Oracle issues security patches for chip flaws

Oracle issues security patches for chip flaws

TROUBLED CHIPMAKER Intel has admitted that the problems caused by patching the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities in its chips affect newer models as well as the older ones it had previously admitted to. And unfortunately, Intel just confirmed that its firmware fix for Spectre might do the same thing on newer machines that pack Kaby Lake and Skylake processors.

"While the firmware updates are effective at mitigating exposure to the security issues, customers have reported more frequent reboots on firmware updated systems", said Navin Shenoy, general manager of the company's data center group, in a statement on Intel's website.

While Intel says it has patched the exploits in 90 percent of the processors it has introduced in the last five years, it's clear there are still reliability issues affecting those processors. I will also continue to provide regular updates on the status. We don't know when an official patch for the problem will be launched, but Intel says it will be delivering microcode to its vendor partners for validation next week.

The Spectre and Meltdown code names refer to vulnerabilities in the way the CPU anticipates and prepares for future commands in order to perform them faster, a process known as speculative execution.

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On Tuesday, as part of its quarterly patch update, Oracle released fixes for 237 flaws across its products, including its first batch of Spectre and Meltdown fixes.

Earlier in the month, security researchers have disclosed a set of security flaws that they said could let hackers steal sensitive information from almost every modern computing device containing chips from Intel, AMD and ARM, according to a report from Reuters.

Intel has published the results of these tests and promised to issue more performance data and benchmarks of older systems as quickly as possible. Microsoft said that PCs running Windows 10 on newer silicon (2016-era PCs with Skylake, Kabylake or newer CPU) will see single-digit slowdowns and most users will not notice it because these percentages are reflected in milliseconds.

Moving forward, Intel said that it has reproduced the issues internally and is working to identify the cause.


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