A mysterious “microcode patch” for Intel processors released late last week does not concern a security update. Unknown is what the update does, writes The Register based on information it received from the chip manufacturer.
Last Friday, Intel released a microcode patch on GitHub for nearly every processor developed since 2017. Including the latest 13th generation of its Intel Core processors and the 4th generation of its Intel Xeon Scalable data center processors.
No security update
The microcode-20230512 is not intended for a security update, the chip maker told The Register. More specifically, the update does not like security updates, and the manufacturer’s message was released to point this out. A fix for, say, the recent BootGuard private OEM keys vulnerability at hardware manufacturer MSI may be ruled out as a result.
What the update does contain, however, is also not clear. Intel is not making any announcements about this. Probably, therefore, now-released microcode patch concerns functional updates.
Microcode updates hinder performance
So-called microcode updates are very common and are often used to improve low-level operations in modern processors. Security fixes for processor-level vulnerabilities can be part of this. Many users are often not happy with these types of updates because they can have a major impact on the (system) performance of processors.