Intel responds to claims of chips having security flaw

Intel responds to claims of chips having security flaw

The problem impacts processors going back more than two decades and could let hackers access passwords, encryption keys or sensitive information open in applications. Suffice to say, this is not great. "It is imperative that Intel act swiftly to fix the problem and ensure consumers are fully compensated for all losses suffered as a result of their actions". Also, make sure virus scanning software is installed and up to date.

The company didn't respond to inquiries about the timing of Krzanich's divestments, but a spokeswoman told MarketWatch it was unrelated to the security flaws. "By the end of next week, Intel expects to have issued updates for more than 90 percent of processor products introduced within the past five years". ARM has claimed that a majority of its processors have not been affected by Spectre or Meltdown.

While Meltdown is said to affect Intel processors manufactured since 1995, Spectre is more widespread in that it is present in ARM and AMD-based devices as well.

The problem in this case is that this predictive loading of instructions allows access to data that's normally cordoned off securely, Intel Vice President Stephen Smith said on a conference call. Manufacturers including Apple, Microsoft, and Google have worked tirelessly to release updates that patch the bugs.

"Check with your operating system vendor or system manufacturer and apply any available updates as soon as they are available", Intel said. Apple didn't immediately respond to an inquiry from Fast Company, though the researchers said a patch is available for Mac OS X. But it doesn't affect lower-level or real-time operating systems (like QNX) that don't use this particular feature, nor in lower-level controller chips used for the Internet of Things (IoT). The company has found that the fixes resulted in "no measurable reduction in the performance of macOS and iOS". With the Spectre flaw, however, it appears that there is no simple fix, and some are suggesting that the only way to completely solve the problem will be to recall and replace the millions of affected computer chips. This guide explains how you can protect all of your devices.

Fortunately, the researchers only delivered a proof of concept that works for local attacks, so for this attack to work in the wild an attacker would already have to have access to a computer. The full public details are scheduled to be released on January 9.

Software and firmware patches to fix the issue could slow down computer processes, but Intel said the effect would be minimal for the average user.

Developers signing non-disclosure agreements meant there had been no word on the validity of these claims from insiders who built the faulty systems.

"At this stage there is no evidence of any malicious exploitation and patches are being produced for the major platforms".

However, the chip giant has issued a detailed statement saying that such reports represent an unfair view of the situation.

Spectre is a security flaw that affects select smartphones and mobile computing devices with Intel, ARM and AMD chipsets. An Intel spokesperson said the stock trade was "unrelated" despite Intel knowing about the issue for five months.

What should Intel do to regain consumer trust?

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