On Friday, Intel wrote in a press release that patches to its chips "may result in adverse performance, reboots, system instability, data loss or corruption, unpredictable system behavior, or the misappropriation of data by third parties". "We understand that Intel is continuing to investigate the potential impact of the current microcode version ..."
Intel worked on addressing the vulnerabilities with security researchers at Google and other teams that uncovered the processor vulnerabilities as well as PC makers - specifically, the larger OEMs - and cloud-computing firms. Some users have reported data loss or even complete system corruption.
Microsoft's initial Windows patches would detect the presence of the updated microcode and use the additional controls if they were available. The company recently released a new Windows 7, 8.1, 10 update (KB4078130) to disable the previously released patches.
The matter got out of hands after Intel's Spectre variant 2 mitigation started causing instability (random reboots) on some Windows computers. Microsoft is also offering a new advanced option to enable or disable Spectre 2 mitigation via registry setting changes. We'll update this story as and when more information comes to light.
The Chinese Government monitor these conversations and could potentially have exploited these security flaws.
Intel is now planning to come out with new chips that will not be affected by the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, and it plans to do so within the year. (Revelations went out then, even though a months-long coordinated effort had pegged January 9 as a global release date.) The security world promptly erupted, and enterprise IT scrambled to figure out what needed to be patched, which patches were available, and in what order those updates should be deployed.
This is a major problem for Intel in terms of PR, but so far investors don't seem to be spooked. The software giant has explained that the Spectre Variant 2 affects all versions of the operating system, but the company is not aware of any exploitation attempts or attacks. With both hardware vendors struggling to develop reliable updates, Microsoft has been forced to take the unprecedented step of issuing multiple emergency Windows patches in an attempt to contain the disruption to end users.