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Published: Sun, January 07, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Intel security flaw puts most PCs at risk

Intel security flaw puts most PCs at risk

The shares of Intel witnessed a slight drop ever since the news of security flaw came out in public, it is now being traded at around $44.23.

"Intel and other technology companies have been made aware of new security research describing software analysis methods that, when used for malicious purposes, have the potential to improperly gather sensitive data from computing devices that are operating as designed".

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the largest seller of cloud computing services, said in a statement it does not "expect meaningful performance impact for most customer workloads". But if the error can't be fixed easily in software, it could be necessary to redesign the chip, which can be extremely costly and time consuming. "They need to get ahead of this and try to contain any of the damage to customers as well to the brand". Intel originally planned to disclose the issue and third-party fixes next week, but made today's statement to correct "inaccurate media reports", the company said.

Intel shares fell 1.8 percent, following a 3.4 percent decline Wednesday. It gave a boost to rivals AMD, which surged as much as 8.8 percent, and Nvidia, which jumped 6.3 percent. All modern microprocessors, including those that run smartphones, are built to essentially guess what functions they're likely to be asked to run next.

The problem in this case is that this predictive loading of instructions allows access to data that's normally cordoned off securely, Intel Vice President Stephen Smith said on a conference call.

"In addition to the security considerations raised by this design flaw, performance degradation is expected, which could require more processing power for affected systems to compensate and maintain current baseline performance", FS-ISAC said. Google, which said the issue affects Intel, AMD and ARM Holdings Plc chips, noted that it updated most of its systems and products with protections from attack.

Intel is at the center of the problem because it supplies the processors used in numerous world's PCs.

Analysts Bernstein reckon the flaws could cost Intel more than the $475 million cost of the 1994 Pentium bug and more than the $700 million cost of the 2011 Cougar Point problem.

Intel's microprocessors are the fundamental building block of the internet, corporate networks and PCs.

The Santa Clara, California-based company's chips have more than 80 percent market share overall and more than 90 percent in laptops and servers.

Microsoft and Apple are believed to be working on patches to guard against the danger.

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