A flaw in the design of Intel’s CPU chips is forcing large kernel updates for Windows, Linux, and MacOS systems. This bug affects all Intel processors produced over the last 10 years (at least), and is not fixable via firmware updates. Expect the changes to be released very soon.
The flaw allows normal user programs to possibly access protected kernel memory, which should not be allowed under normal circumstances. This flaw could allow someone to gain access to items in memory that should not be seen by user programs, such as the contents of other user’s files, encryption keys, etc. Since this bug will require re-architecting how the kernel is protected in memory, there will be a performance hit when switching between the kernel and user processes. Some estimates of the performance hit are 5-30% slowdown.
There’s a reasonable chance that the changes will have bugs that could cause system problems, but you should install the updates reasonably soon after they are released. The bug impacts Azure, Amazon, and Google cloud environments. You can expect those providers to schedule maintenance and reboots soon to implement the fixes in their environments. AMD has stated that their CPUs are not affected by this bug.
More information is available from: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/01/02/intel_cpu_design_flaw/