Intel rushes out "Spectre" and "Meltdown" updates

Intel rushes out

Although hackers will find it harder to take advantage of Spectre, it is also more challenging for computer manufacturers to ward off, the researchers said. In the meantime, criminal actors and nation states could further develop the Spectre vulnerability, making attacks easier to execute. It's a general design issue that impacts most modern chips, he said. The confirmation comes as a relief especially considering the fact that Xbox consoles rely on AMD's Jaguar platform, which is also affected by the flaw. "Intel is committed to responsible disclosure".

Intel maintains that there are no known exploits for the vulnerabilities, but it's encouraging computer users worldwide to enable automatic updates of their operating systems and other computer software to keep their systems up-to-date. "Contrary to some reports, any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time", Intel added.

Intel, AMD, ARM, original equipment manufacturers, and operating system vendors (Intel did not specify which vendors those are), have been collaborating to come up with fixes and mitigations for the issue since the discovery of the flaw. "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.

Apple will release a patch for the Safari web browser on its iPhones, iPads and Mac within days, it announced yesterday. It has mitigated Meltdown with iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2 updates, and plans to release mitigations in Safari to defend against Spectre.

Microsoft said in a statement Thursday that it is not aware of any of these vulnerabilities being used against its customers. But according to one developer, the company has a few additional patches for Intel's blunder in a current beta build.


Intel said fixes for security issues in its microchips would not slow down computers, rebuffing concerns that the flaws found in microprocessors would significantly reduce performance.

But by Wednesday night Amazon and Microsoft said they had updated their systems to deal with the Meltdown flaw.

AMD said it believed there was "near zero risk to AMD products at this time". They are from Google's Project Zero, the University of Pennsylvania, Austria's Graz University of Technology, Australia's University of Adelaide and security firms Cyberus Technology, Rambus and Data61.

Intel says it will have released patches to address major CPU security flaws for 90 percent of recently-released chips by next week. ARM has put out a security briefing note, indicating which chips could have been affected by Spectre.

Initial reports indicated that the security flaw was limited to Intel processors, but chipmaker ARM has since said that chips based on its technology are also affected.

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