Intel Vulnerability and IBM POWER Users

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Intel Meltdown and the IBM POWER family

News reached us last week of the Intel/Spectre vulnerability issues. On Wednesday, January 3, researchers from Google announced a security vulnerability impacting all microprocessors, including processors in the IBM POWER family.

This vulnerability doesn’t allow an external unauthorized party to gain access to a machine, but it could allow a party that has access to the system to access unauthorized data.

If this vulnerability poses a risk to your environment, the first line of defense is the firewalls and security tools that most organizations already have in place. Complete mitigation of this vulnerability for Power Systems clients involves installing patches to both system firmware and operating systems. The firmware patch provides partial remediation to this vulnerability and is a pre-requisite for the OS patch to be effective. These will be available as follows:

  • Firmware patches for POWER7+, POWER8 and POWER9 platforms will be available on January 9. We will provide further communication on supported generations prior to POWER7+,  including firmware patches and availability.
  • Linux operating systems patches will start to become available on January 9.  AIX and i operating system patches will start to become available February 12. Information will be available via PSIRT.

What should I do?

IBM POWER users should review these patches in the context of their data center environment and standard evaluation practices to determine if they should be applied. If you would like any support to evaluate your position or to establish how to proceed with applying the patch please contact your account manager today.

For more information