Use HP, Lenovo or Dell? Get ready for new updates to guard against Spectre

Intel's fixed microcode updates to mitigate the Spectre attack have now reached Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge chips.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Video: Meltdown-Spectre attack variants discovered

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

The chipmaker'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.

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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.

Previous and related coverage

New Spectre attack variant can pry secrets from Intel's SGX protected enclaves

Sensitive data protected by Intel's Software Guard Extensions could be open to a new side-channel attack.

Intel's Spectre fix for Broadwell and Haswell chips has finally landed

Chips that sparked Intel's recall of microcode for Spectre Variant 2 attack now have stable fixes.

First Intel, now AMD also faces multiple class-action suits over Spectre attacks

Customers accuse the chip maker of charging premium prices for a faulty product.

Intel's new Spectre fix: Skylake, Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake chips get stable microcode

Intel makes progress on reissuing stable microcode updates against the Spectre attack.

Meltdown-Spectre: Now the class action suits against Intel are starting to mount up

Intel faces 32 class action lawsuits over its processor flaws and says more may be in the pipeline.

Meltdown-Spectre flaws: We've found new attack variants, say researchers

Intel and AMD may need to revisit their microcode fixes for Meltdown and Spectre.

Linux Meltdown patch: 'Up to 800 percent CPU overhead', Netflix tests show

The performance impact of Meltdown patches makes it essential to move systems to Linux 4.14.

Spectre reboot problems: Now Intel replaces its buggy fix for Skylake PCs

And offers patching tips from US CERT, which it failed to brief on the bugs.

Meltdown-Spectre: Malware is already being tested by attackers

Malware makers are experimenting with malware that exploits the Spectre and Meltdown CPU bugs.

Windows emergency patch: Microsoft's new update kills off Intel's Spectre fix

The out-of-band update disabled Intel's mitigation for the Spectre Variant 2 attack, which Microsoft says can cause data loss on top of unexpected reboots.

Meltdown-Spectre: Why were flaws kept secret from industry, demand lawmakers

Great work on patching your own products, but why were smaller tech companies kept in the dark?

Spectre flaw: Dell and HP pull Intel's buggy patch, new BIOS updates coming

Dell and HP have pulled Intel's firmware patches for the Spectre attack.

Windows 10 Meltdown-Spectre patch: New updates bring fix for unbootable AMD PCs

AMD PCs can now install Microsoft's Windows update with fixes for Meltdown and Spectre and the bug that caused boot problems.

Meltdown-Spectre: Intel says newer chips also hit by unwanted reboots after patch

Intel's firmware fix for Spectre is also causing higher reboots on Kaby Lake and Skylake CPUs.

26% of organizations haven't yet received Windows Meltdown and Spectre patches (Tech Republic)

Roughly a week after the update was released, many machines still lack the fix for the critical CPU vulnerabilities.

Bad news: A Spectre-like flaw will probably happen again (CNET)

Our devices may never truly be secure, says the CEO of the company that designs the heart of most mobile chips.

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