Intel's Spectre BIOS Fix Causes Crashes On Broadwell, Haswell Systems


Intel has issued a statement confirming that BIOS patches for the Spectre vulnerability are causing crashes on Broadwell and Haswell systems.

The company wants us to know that it’s sticking to its recent commitment to put security first by confirming that it’s investigating an issue with the CPU microcode updates it issued to its hardware partners. These updates are being distributed to users’ systems as BIOS updates, which are just beginning to roll out.

Intel said that customers have reported “higher system reboots” (crashes) after applying BIOS updates. So far, the issue only affects Broadwell (Core i3/5/7 5000 series on for mobile) and Haswell (Core i3/5/7 4000 series for desktop and mobile). Intel didn’t specifically say if Broadwell-E (Core i7 6000 series on desktop) are also affected. The issues have been reported in both data centers and regular user systems.

We are working quickly with these customers to understand, diagnose and address this reboot issue. If this requires a revised firmware update from Intel, we will distribute that update through the normal channels.  We are also working directly with data center customers to discuss the issue.

Intel doesn’t recommend you ignore the BIOS updates from your system OEM, but you might want to wait for this to unfold if you’re using one of the affected CPUs. The BIOS fixes are used in conjunction with software fixes to mitigate Spectre Variant 2. If you have auto-updating turned on in your OS, then most likely you have already received the software side of the fix.

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  • Yuka
    I've had my new laptop turned off for this very reason. I don't want Win10 to push any updates, to *anything* until I'm 100% sure there are no stupid side-effects that need working on.

    For all you people without a (real) choice, I pity you and wish you the best of luck.

    For BIOS upgrades, luckily we're not at the point where they are also mandatory and our of our control.

    Cheers!
  • vipervictorus
    I would like Intel to get in touch with me, but they probably won't support laptop users. I loaded their January 8, 2018 microcode update into my BIOS, and within 24 hours, my motherboard and processor are dead (Alienware 18, Haswell 4940MX CPU). I don't know if this was coincidental or not with the microcode, but I really would like Intel to get in touch with me. All other haswell users, be wary of the January 8, 2018 microcode.
  • therealduckofdeath
    Intel will definitely not contact you from a random (trolley?) comment to a news post, "vipervictorus". I'm guessing you already know that too. Try, you know, a site owned by Intel.