Cyber SecurityTech

HP, Lenovo and Dell users to brace for a barrage of Intel’s anti-Spectre attack chip updates

Intel has almost wrapped up revised microcode updates that address unexpected reboots caused by its first attempt at mitigating the Meltdown-Spectre variant 2 attack.

The chip-maker’s recently updated microcode revision guidance indicates that most of its platforms from the past decade now have production-ready patches to mitigate the Spectre attack.

On January 22, three weeks after releasing microcode updates to address the speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities, Intel advised PC makers to halt the deployment of its Spectre patches due to unexpected system reboots and in some instances data loss.

Over the past month Intel has released revised updates for Skylake, Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake chips and, at the end of February, released fixed production updates for Broadwell and Haswell chips.

As of Thursday, Intel has moved beta updates for Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors to production. These include Xeon and Core processors for the two families. It also released revised production updates for Haswell Server EX Xeon, Haswell ULT, and Broadwell Server EX Xeon CPUs.

The revised microcode updates are delivered to end-users as firmware updates from PC and server manufacturers.

Dell has now released new BIOS updates with Intel’s revised microcode for datacenter servers and PowerEdge Server 14G, 13G, and 12G generation servers, with 11G updates still in process.

Dell has also released revised BIOS updates available for most of its client devices across XPS, Vostro, Venue, Precision, OptiPlex, Latitude, Inspiron, and Alienware brands.

HP’s support page indicates that most of its commercial and consumer laptops, desktops and tablets have fixed softpaq updates available for download.

Lenovo meanwhile expects to update ThinkCenter, ThinkPad, ThinkStation, and Yoga by the end of March. Updates for affected Lenovo enterprise systems are also targeted for delivery throughout March.

Admins managing large Windows deployments can use Microsoft’s recently released Spectre and Meltdown patch assessment tool to check the status of devices on their networks.

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