Security faults in Intel chips create risk for phones and computers

Technology - Mohit Shah - Jan 04,2018

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security faults in intel chips create risk for phones and computers

On Wednesday, security researchers unveiled a set of security flaws which they mentioned can allow hackers steal vital information from almost every modern phone and computer that contains chips from Intel Corp, ARM Holdings and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Researchers with Alphabet Inc’s Google Project Zero, in collaboration with academic and industry researchers belonging to different countries have discovered these security faults.

It has been found out that, one of the bugs is particular to Intel; however, the other affects desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, as well as internet servers.  Both ARM and Intel insisted that the flaw wasn’t a design fault, but would involve the users to download a patch and further update their operating systems for acquiring a fix.

The researchers have named these vulnerabilities as "Meltdown" and "Spectre". The second one called Spectre, hampers chips from Intel, ARM and AMD and permits hackers to possibly trick otherwise error-free applications leading to loss of secret information.

One of the researchers from Graz University of Technology, Daniel Gruss, who was capable of discovering Meltdown called it “probably one of the worst CPU bugs ever found”. He added, Meltdown was indeed a more intense problem in the running future but could be conclusively stopped using software patches.

ARM spokesman Phil Hughes commented that patches have already been distributed with the companies’ partners that includes several smartphone manufacturers.

Intel said in a statement, the technology firm has begun offering software and firmware updates with an aim to “mitigate these exploits”. It further mentioned, disagreeing to some reports, any sort of performance impact is workload-dependent. Hence, for an average computer user, it shouldn’t grow significant and would be diminished over time.