Intel claims it may finally have fixed Spectre flaw

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Intel has announced that a stable microcode update is now available for all variants of its Skylake, Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake processors to protect them against the Spectre security flaw

The latest microcode update is designed to protect all of the chipmaker's latest processors from Spectre variant 2 attacks.    

These attacks work by convincing a processor's branch predictor to make a bad prediction about the code that will be executed and in turn using this false prediction to deduce the value of data stored in memory.  An attacker can then gain access to information that ordinarily wouldn't be able to access. 

Intel's latest microcode update will give operating systems more control over the branch predictor which will allow them to stop one process from being able to influence the predictions made in another process. 

The first microcode update released by the company for Broadwell, Haswell, Skylake, Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake processors affected system performance negatively and users reported that their machines would often crash and reboot.  Intel then released an updated microcode patch that specifically covered the Skylake family of processors

Users with Broadwell and Haswell processors in their machines have still not received a patch to protect them from Spectre and the chipmaker has claimed that microcode updates are currently in the beta stage for Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Broadwell and Haswell processors. 

Patching all of its processors to protect them from Spectre based attacks has already taken Intel quite some time and those running older chips will have to wait longer before their systems are fully patched. 

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