At the beginning of the year, vulnerabilities in all modern CPUs were found, called Meltdown and Spectre. They're serious security flaws, and they can't really be fixed completely. In fact, it's something of a nightmare for companies like Intel, but the good news is that the firm isn't trying to hide it. Companies like Intel and Microsoft are frequently publishing new blog posts about their latest efforts to mitigate the vulnerabilities, which require patches on both the software and firmware sides.
Today, Intel announced some further steps that it's taking. The company says that it's redesigning parts of its processors to "introduce new levels of protection through partitioning that will protect against both Variants 2 and 3." We'll first see these improvements in the next generation of Xeon Scalable chips, which are codenamed Cascade Lake.
Those fixes will also be included in Intel's eighth-generation Core processors that are to be released later this year. Intel's 8th-gen chips are built on multiple architectures. The U-series and H-series processors are both Kaby Lake (R and G, respectively), and the desktop chips are Coffee Lake. Both of those are 14nm, and then coming later this year, there will be the 10nm Cannonlake.
Presumably, Intel is talking about making these changes to all three lineups that are included in this Core generation. We've reached out to the company for more clarification though.
Another thing that Intel announced today is that it's releasing microcode for more of its processors. The firm first released new microcode for the 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-gen CPUs last month, and now it says that microcode is available for 100% of all processors released within the last five years. In fact, the code available goes all the way back to Sandy Bridge, and Intel still plans to go back further.
Microsoft also recently announced that these updates will begin rolling out via Windows Update. As it stands right now, that still only includes Skylake and above, but the company should be updating its catalog sooner than later.