"We believe the performance impact of these updates is highly workload dependent," Krzanich said. "We expect some may have a larger impact than others, so we'll continue working with the industry to minimise the impact on those workloads over time."

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None of these criticisms, however, have been quite as brutal as those more recently made by Linux founder Linus Torvalds. In a post on to the Linux kernel mailing list, Torvalds described Intel's patches as "complete and utter garbage," adding "Somebody isn't telling the truth here. Somebody is pushing complete garbage for unclear reasons." 

And while manufacturers attempt to plug the holes, hackers have been working on fake patches, riddled with malware and distributed via dubious websites claiming to be supported by security authorities.