Intel unobtrusively refreshed its microcode refresh direction (PDF) on second April. The last time we checked this report, back in mid-March, it was uplifting news and Intel at the same time uncovered by means of a blog entry that it had refreshed the microcode for the greater part of the items it had propelled in the previous five years. The most recent refresh to the PDF isn’t uplifting news, as though you check through the archive you will see that numerous processors/chipsets have been moved to another generation status marked ‘ceased’.
A case of the scope of new ‘ceased’ generation status sees is given above. You can see obviously that Intel has put an end to delivering microcode refreshes for its whole Wolfdale line. (I used to run one of these CPUs) These 45nm processors were first discharged as far back as Q1 2008.
On the whole, as The Register reports, there are more than 230 processors that have had their generation status ‘ceased’. In its supreme way the Reg says that the 10 item families will be dismissed by Intel fixers and patchers “at times since it’s excessively dubious, making it impossible to evacuate the Specter v2 class of vulnerabilities”. And in addition Wolfdale processors, you will find that Specter and Meltdown fix advancement statuses for Bloomfield, Bloomfield Xeon, Clarksfield, Gulftown, Harpertown Xeon C0 and E0, Jasper Forest, Penryn/QC, SoFIA 3GR, Wolfdale Xeon, Yorkfield, and Yorkfield Xeon families have all been shunted to ‘ceased’.
The official microcode refresh direction report incorporates some clarification for the ‘ceased’ status simply behind the cover page. It says that “after a thorough examination of the microarchitectures and microcode capacities for these items, Intel has resolved to not discharge microcode refreshes for these items for at least one reasons”. The reasons, three of them altogether, are recreated beneath:
Small scale building attributes that block a viable usage of highlights relieving Variant 2 (CVE-2017-5715)
Restricted Commercially Available System Software bolster
In view of client inputs, the greater part of these items are actualized as ‘shut frameworks’ and in this manner are relied upon to have a lower probability of introduction to these vulnerabilities.
We don’t know which individual processor families are affected by which of the above visual cues.
Some uplifting news
Somewhere else in the report there is uplifting news for clients of processors in the Arrandale, Clarkdale, Lynnfield, Nehalem, and Westmere families. Intel now has working fixes for these underway, as indicated by the status table. “We’ve now finished arrival of microcode refreshes for Intel chip items propelled over the most recent 9+ years that required security against the side-channel vulnerabilities found by Google Project Zero,” an Intel representative revealed to The Reg in a supplementary messaged explanation.