While Meltdown and Spectre Variant 1 could be theoretically being addressed by patching the OS, Spectre Variant 2 require a firmware/microcode update to address the issue.
Now Red Hat joint to the list of companies that observed problems after the installation of the patches, it is releasing updates that are reverting previous patches for the Spectre vulnerability (Variant 2, aka CVE-2017-5715).
The company decided to revert the initial security updates because it received from some customers complaints about booting failure for their systems.
Red Hat is recommending its customers to contact their OEM hardware provider to receive the latest release of firmware to mitigate the CVE-2017-5715.
“Red Hat Security is currently recommending that subscribers contact their CPU OEM vendor to download the latest microcode/firmware for their processor.” reads the advisory published by Red Hat.
“The latest microcode_ctl and linux-firmware packages from Red Hat do not include resolutions to the CVE-2017-5715 (variant 2) exploit. Red Hat is no longer providing microcode to address Spectre, variant 2, due to instabilities introduced that are causing customer systems to not boot. The latest microcode_ctl and linux-firmware packages are reverting these unstable microprocessor firmware changes to versions that were known to be stable and well tested, released prior to the Spectre/Meltdown embargo lift date on Jan 3rd. Customers are advised to contact their silicon vendor to get the latest microcode for their particular processor.”
Other distributions based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux like CentOS could suffer similar problems and it could be necessary to revert Spectre Variant 2 security updates.
The company suggests customers to access the Red Hat Customer Portal Lab App to verify systems have the necessary microprocessor firmware to address CVE-2017-5715 (variant 2):
Pierluigi Paganini is member of the ENISA (European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) Threat Landscape Stakeholder Group and Cyber G7 Group, he is also a Security Evangelist, Security Analyst and Freelance Writer.
Editor-in-Chief at "Cyber Defense Magazine", Pierluigi is a cyber security expert with over 20 years experience in the field, he is Certified Ethical Hacker at EC Council in London. The passion for writing and a strong belief that security is founded on sharing and awareness led Pierluigi to find the security blog "Security Affairs" recently named a Top National Security Resource for US.
Pierluigi is a member of the "The Hacker News" team and he is a writer for some major publications in the field such as Cyber War Zone, ICTTF, Infosec Island, Infosec Institute, The Hacker News Magazine and for many other Security magazines.
Author of the Books "The Deep Dark Web" and “Digital Virtual Currency and Bitcoin”.