Intel flaw: Critical bugs in computer chips spark panic

Intel flaw: Critical bugs in computer chips spark panic

The Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities affect computers with chip designs from Intel, Arm and, to a lesser degree, AMD.

Both bugs can essentially help malware grab data stored in sensitive programs, including a password manager or browser.

Intel has detailed its plans to begin the fight against the Meltdown and Spectre security exploits that shocked the world this week.

This bug affects Desktops, Laptops and even the servers from top-level vendors including Microsoft Azure and Amazon Cloud services.

The risk is especially severe for cloud computing providers, which lease their servers to different clients. "Intel's material defect can be patched - but patched computers, smartphones and devices suffer reduced performance", stated one of the lawsuits, filed in the District of Oregon.

Intel is facing three class-action lawsuits as the company continues to grapple with fallout after it acknowledged its chips were vulnerable to two massive security bugs. Chip manufacturers and software developers have been scrambling to patch their devices with security updates since the flaw were first disclosed on Wednesday. "If you do a lot of in-memory number crunching, you won't see much of an impact because again the kernel isn't getting in the way", The Register says. The company has found that the fixes resulted in "no measurable reduction in the performance of macOS and iOS".

"Recent reports that these exploits are caused by a "bug" or a "flaw" and are unique to Intel products are incorrect", they stated.

Intel said it was working with hardware and software companies to push out fixes to the problem.

The company does admit that in some cases the performance impact from software updates might be "higher", though it adds "additional post-deployment identification, testing and improvement of the software updates should mitigate that impact". Without offering details, Intel suggests that "the performance impact of [its] updates is highly workload-dependent and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time". Ever since Google released two documents detailing the security flaws in nearly every CPU in the world right now, the consumers have patiently waited for a fix for their devices. It should be noted that the second exploit Spectre impacts almost all processors on all devices, including those from Intel, AMD, those with ARM architecture, which is most smartphones.

The company originally made a decision to disclose the bug next week, but opted to release a statement on Wednesday to address what it considered to be inaccurate media reports.

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