Intel Responds To Alleged Chip Flaw, Claims Effects Won't Significantly Impact Average Users

Tech media publications lit up yesterday afternoon, after reports showed that a critical bug in modern Intel processors has the potential to seriously impact systems running Windows, Linux and macOS. The alleged bug is so severe that it cannot be corrected with a microcode update, and instead, OS manufacturers are being forced to address the issue with software patches, which in some instances requires a redesign of the core system kernel.
8th Gen Intel Core S series Chip

Some early performance benchmarks have even suggested that patches to fix the bug could result in up to a 30 percent performance hit. Since reports on the issue have exploded over the past 24 hours, Intel is looking to cut through the noise and tell its side of the story. The details of the exploit and software/firmware updates to address the matter at hand were scheduled to go live next week. However, Intel says that it is speaking out early to combat "inaccurate media reports" that are making the rounds.

Intel acknowledges that the exploit has "the potential to improperly gather sensitive data from computing devices that are operating as designed." The company further goes on state that “these exploits do not have the potential to corrupt, modify or delete data." To help quiet hysteria in the general populous, Intel says that the "average computer user" will be negligibly affected by any software fixes, and that any negative performance outcomes "will be mitigated over time."

Further, Intel underscores that "many different vendors' processors" are vulnerable to these exploits. However, to the contrary, AMD has made it clear that its processors are not affected.

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"Intel is committed to product and customer security and is working closely with many other technology companies, including AMD, ARM Holdings and several operating system vendors, to develop an industry-wide approach to resolve this issue promptly and constructively," said Intel in a statement.

"Following good security practices that protect against malware in general will also help protect against possible exploitation until updates can be applied," the company continued. "Intel believes its products are the most secure in the world and that, with the support of its partners, the current solutions to this issue provide the best possible security for its customers."

Intel follows up by asking customers to make sure that they have installed the latest software and hardware updates to further protect themselves from malicious attacks. 

Update, 7:21 PM - 1/3/2018 - Microsoft has released the following statement regarding its response to the security exploit:

We’re aware of this industry-wide issue and have been working closely with chip manufacturers to develop and test mitigations to protect our customers. We are in the process of deploying mitigations to cloud services and are releasing security updates today to protect Windows customers against vulnerabilities affecting supported hardware chips from AMD, ARM, and Intel. We have not received any information to indicate that these vulnerabilities had been used to attack our customers.

Tags:  Bug, Intel, (NASDAQ:INTC)