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21.23 3 Jan 2018


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Technology company Intel has responded to reports of a major flaw affecting its products, insisting that other companies' products are also susceptible.

It come after reports that a flaw in Intel microprocessors would leave computers worldwide facing significant slowdown when performing particular tasks.

The flaw affects a mechanism that microprocessers use to perform tasks quickly.

It is, however, the fix that would cause the slowdown, The Register reported, as developers try to prevent hackers taking advantage of the flaw.

Computer users are being urged to still apply updates to their computers, despite the potential slowdown.

Details of the flaw and how it might be exploited are being kept strictly under wraps while programmers work to redesign operating systems including Windows and Linux to work around the bug.

In a statement, Intel said: "Recent reports that these exploits are caused by a 'bug' or a 'flaw' and are unique to Intel products are incorrect. Based on the analysis to date, many types of computing devices - with many different vendors’ processors and operating systems - are susceptible to these exploits.

"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."

It added: "Intel has begun providing software and firmware updates to mitigate these exploits. 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."

The company added that it and other companies had intended to disclose the issue next week when "more software and firmware updates will be available", but says it opted to issue a statement early due to 'inaccurate media reports'.

Experts said the issue affects a process that computer chips use to work faster. The redesigns could leave computers performing much slower than they could if they were left vulnerable to attack.

Researchers fear that the hardware flaw means that 'hidden' CPU work may not necessarily remain hidden, and speculate that an attacker might be able to steal passwords or other key information from the computer.

Companies which offer large cloud-computing products such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft may be heavily affected.


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