Intel has issued a statement confirming that BIOS patches for the Spectre vulnerability are causing crashes on Broadwell and Haswell systems.
The company wants us to know that it’s sticking to its recent commitment to put security first by confirming that it’s investigating an issue with the CPU microcode updates it issued to its hardware partners. These updates are being distributed to users’ systems as BIOS updates, which are just beginning to roll out.
Intel said that customers have reported “higher system reboots” (crashes) after applying BIOS updates. So far, the issue only affects Broadwell (Core i3/5/7 5000 series on for mobile) and Haswell (Core i3/5/7 4000 series for desktop and mobile). Intel didn’t specifically say if Broadwell-E (Core i7 6000 series on desktop) are also affected. The issues have been reported in both data centers and regular user systems.
We are working quickly with these customers to understand, diagnose and address this reboot issue. If this requires a revised firmware update from Intel, we will distribute that update through the normal channels. We are also working directly with data center customers to discuss the issue.
Intel doesn’t recommend you ignore the BIOS updates from your system OEM, but you might want to wait for this to unfold if you’re using one of the affected CPUs. The BIOS fixes are used in conjunction with software fixes to mitigate Spectre Variant 2. If you have auto-updating turned on in your OS, then most likely you have already received the software side of the fix.