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Intel CPUs

Intel pinky-promised today that it will provide firmware updates by the end of next week for 90% of all CPU models it released in the past five years.

The company said that the firmware updates will “render those systems immune from both exploits (referred to as “Spectre” and “Meltdown”).”

Intel said it already started shipping some of these CPU firmware updates to some of its partners. OEMs and other hardware vendors will then have to include these firmware updates in updates for their own products.

Intel promises to mitigate any performance impact

In addition, the company reaffirmed that the impact of the Meltdown and Spectre firmware updates will not cause a huge performance dip, as some benchmarks carried out by some tech blogs have suggested. Intel promised to test and refine the patches over time to mitigate any initial performance impact.

At the time of writing, only Intel processors have been officially confirmed to be affected by the Meltdown flaw, while the Spectre flaw also affects AMD and ARM CPUs, besides Intel.

From the moment when it became clear that Intel CPUs were affected by a mysterious CPU flaw that required major patching, Intel stock dropped by $2.27, which is around 4.85% of the original price.

Patching will be complicated

Patching the Meltdown and Spectre flaws will require CPU firmware updates, OS-level patches, and application-level mitigations.

Bleeping Computer has compiled a list of links where various vendors are hosting updates or official statements regarding the Meltdown and Spectre patching process. The big names, such as Microsoft, Apple, Linux, Google, Amazon, and Mozilla, have already deployed mitigations.

We’ve also put together an article for helping Windows users through the complicated process of updating their operating systems, a process made worse by anti-virus engines, which, in combination with the Meltdown and Spectre patches, may crash some systems.

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