Intel: Spectre-proof CPUs will ship in second half of 2018

Now that Intel has shipped firmware updates for all the processors it has released over the past five years to patch the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, Intel is now looking to the future.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Video: Meltdown-Spectre attack variants discovered

If you're holding out on buying processors until Intel gets a hardware solution out for the Spectre CPU flaw that came to light earlier this year, then you won't have to wait beyond 2018.

Must read: Meltdown and Spectre - Is your PC vulnerable?

While Intel will continue to rely on software patches to protect against the Meltdown issue, the company has today announced that it has now "redesigned parts of the processor to introduce new levels of protection through partitioning" in order to protect against the Spectre variants of the bug.

"We have redesigned parts of the processor to introduce new levels of protection through partitioning that will protect against both Variants 2 and 3," wrote Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. "Think of this partitioning as additional "protective walls" between applications and user privilege levels to create an obstacle for bad actors."

The first processors to feature this protection will be Intel's next-generation Xeon Cascade Lake chips, along with the new 8th generation Intel Core processors slated to ship during the second half of this year.

Intel's software patches have given IT admins and PC owners alike a lot of headaches. The patches come with a fairly hefty performance hit for certain processor (even on Linux), and the patches have also been pretty buggy at times.

Despite the problems, Krzanich has a clear message for PC owners out there:

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

So, apply those patches now, folks.

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