Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Security Management //

Patch Management

08:05 AM
Scott Ferguson
Scott Ferguson
News Analysis-Security Now

Intel, OEMs Push Out More Spectre Microcode Patches

An updated Spectre patch list from Intel includes new microcode for its processors, including chips based on Ivy Bridge and Broadwell designs. OEMs such as Dell and Lenovo are also pushing out updates.

After nearly three months of back-and-forth with different updates, Intel is pushing out new production-ready microcode for several of its chips, including its Ivy Bridge Broadwell designs, which should patch the security flaws related to the Spectre vulnerability.

In addition, the chip maker's OEM partners, including Dell Technologies and Lenovo, are pushing out new fixes as well.

As part of the March 6 update for its "Microcode Revision Guidance" list, Intel is pushing out production-ready microcode for its line of Ivy Bridge, Broadwell, Gladden and Haswell chips. The company also has beta versions of microcode listed for certain Clarkdale, Nehalem and Westmere processors.

The Ivy Bridge, Broadwell, Gladden and Haswell designs help make up part of Intel's Xeon family, and these types of x86 chips are generally used within data centers that support large-scale computing, such as cloud infrastructures.

Specifically, the microcode updates fix the flaw called Variant 2. There were a total of three flaws associated with the Spectre and Meltdown side-channel vulnerabilities that were disclosed in January. Of the three, Variant 2 is the hardest one to exploit but also the most difficult one to patch. (See Intel Offering New Microcode to Fix Spectre & Meltdown.)

In their January report, researchers found that that by manipulating pre-executed commands within x86 chips, which help make data available faster, hackers can gain access to the content of the kernel memory. The security issue is that this flaw can allow a hacker to gain access to encryption keys and other authentication details of whatever system the CPU is running in.

When researchers first disclosed the Spectre and Meltdown flaws earlier this year, Intel attempted to push out patches as quickly as possible, only to withdraw these updates as they slowed system performance. (See Linus Torvalds: Intel's Spectre Patch Is 'Complete & Utter Garbage'.)

OEMs, including Dell and Lenovo also attempted to push out patches for systems, but these had to be withdrawn and rethought as well. (See HPE, Dell EMC Warn Customers Over Spectre, Meltdown Patches.)

The fundamentals of network security are being redefined -- don't get left in the dark by a DDoS attack! Join us in Austin from May 14-16 at the fifth-annual Big Communications Event. There's still time to register and communications service providers get in free!

On March 9, Dell issued an alertabout new BIOS, hypervisor and operating system patches for the company's line of server, storage and networking gear.

In addition, Lenovo, which makes ThinkPad laptops and ThinkStation servers, released its own update at about the same time to address issues within its own hardware.

"Intel provides to Lenovo the CPU microcode updates required to address Variant 2, which Lenovo then incorporates into BIOS/UEFI [Unified Extensible Firmware Interface] firmware. Intel is currently resolving microcode quality issues discovered in late January and has begun to provide new microcode updates to Lenovo," according to the company's security update.

Related posts:

— Scott Ferguson, Editor, Enterprise Cloud News. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/6/2020
Another COVID-19 Side Effect: Rising Nation-State Cyber Activity
Stephen Ward, VP, ThreatConnect,  7/1/2020
Lessons from COVID-19 Cyberattacks: Where Do We Go Next?
Derek Manky, Chief of Security Insights and Global Threat Alliances, FortiGuard Labs,  7/2/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-07
An issue was discovered in CMSUno before 1.6.1. uno.php allows CSRF to change the admin password.
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-07
Victor CMS through 2019-02-28 allows XSS via the register.php user_firstname or user_lastname field.
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-07
A memory leak in Openthread's wpantund versions up to commit 0e5d1601febb869f583e944785e5685c6c747be7, when used in an environment where wpanctl is directly interfacing with the control driver (eg: debug environments) can allow an attacker to crash the service (DoS). We recommend updating, or to res...
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-07
Gossipsub 1.0 does not properly resist invalid message spam, such as an eclipse attack or a sybil attack.
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-07
A SQLi exists in the probe code of all Connectwise Automate versions before 2020.7 or 2019.12. A SQL Injection in the probe implementation to save data to a custom table exists due to inadequate server side validation. As the code creates dynamic SQL for the insert statement and utilizes the user su...