Intel responds to CPU kernel access security flaw

Companies scrambling to protect networks from chip security flaw

While it's urging to see that Xbox is unaffected, different sorts of devices from PC to telephones, and web servers, still aren't completely checked.

Alphabet Inc.'s Google Project Zero, in cooperation with industry and academic researchers from several countries, discovered the flaws. Intel believes these exploits do not have the potential to corrupt, modify or delete data.

While researchers say the Meltdown bug is limited to Intel processors, they have verified Spectre as a problem for Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and ARM processors.

Intel has vowed to fix two catastrophic bugs that have left nearly every modern computer and smart device vulnerable to being hacked. Microsoft said that a "majority" of its Azure cloud services used by businesses had already been patched and protected and that it is issuing a Windows security update.

It outlined that customers need to patch the operating systems they have been using.

To be clear, the security research team identified three variants targeting speculative execution. Gruss said Meltdown was the more serious problem in the short term but could be decisively stopped with software patches.

Both Meltdown and Spectre take advantage of a common function of processors - the central technology that drives a computer. Google reported the first findings to the processor companies on June 1, 2017 and the fact that Intel, AMD and ARM are all referenced suggests that all forms of equipment from embedded applications up through smartphones to laptops and servers in data centers are vulnerable.

Do you trust that Intel has this problem under control? Worse is the fact you can do nothing about it, as the slowdown is a side effect of fixing a major design flaw in Intel processors.

Initially, AMD told users its chips were not subject to the same sort of attacks as Intel's chips, but the company has since updated its stance to say its chips are only affected by some of the announced hacks. The federal organization says that "fully removing the vulnerability" requires replacing the hardware already embedded in millions of computing devices.

Intel admitted that their processors contained the flaw but downplayed the affect it could have on users. By Wednesday, Google and Microsoft said they had updated their systems to deal with the flaw. Other Google Cloud users will have to take some steps to mitigate their risk. "While programs are typically not permitted to read data from other programs, a malicious program can exploit Meltdown and Spectre to get hold of secrets stored in the memory of other running programs", the researchers wrote. The other, Spectre, is harder to fix, but also harder to exploit, making it less of an immediate threat to consumer devices.

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