Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Intel rushes out "Spectre" and "Meltdown" updates

Intel rushes out

Project Zero said the issues affect many modern processors, including certain processors from Intel, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and SoftBank (SFTBY)-owned ARM. These hardware bugs allow programs to steal data which is now processed on the computer. One of the bugs which is rooted in Intel processors that purportedly allows miscreants to access device kernel memory data, a potential threat that once exploited can easily disclose passwords and other important credentials.

"Because chip replacements are not going to happen tomorrow, realistically, software is being updated", Sitaram Chamarty, a security researcher at Tata Consultancy Services, told CNNMoney. Chip makers will have to redesign future processors that will be protected against the exploits and its variants.

"As it is not easy to fix, it will haunt us for quite some time", the official Meltdown/Spectre FAQ says.

Well, that was the good news you needed to hear if you were anxious about the security structure of your Xbox One.

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

Spectre is less unsafe than Meltdown, but will be more hard to patch. The company says that is "has developed and is rapidly issuing updates for all types of Intel-based computer systems", but it is not clear when - or whether - older devices will be treated to patches. While both flaws are serious, Spectre hits everyone, while Intel is the company principally exposed by Meltdown. When exploited, the bug can permit hackers with access to users' sensitive information. AMD chips are also common in PCs, while ARM chips are found in many smartphones and other internet-connected products, including cars and home appliances.

Amid a frantic rush to patch a computer security flaw, experts struggled Thursday to determine the impact of a newly discovered vulnerability which could affect billions of devices worldwide.

Apple said Thursday that it had already issued fixes for Meltdown for its various operating systems, and added that it plans to release similar fixes in its Safari browser "to help defend against Spectre" in the coming days. This is a hole baked into the very chips' design.

The company says that it has already released "updates for the majority of processor products introduced within the past five years" in the form of firmware updates and software patches. Google and Amazon are also updating their cloud services.

Major cloud services aimed at business customers - including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure - say they have already patched most of their services and will fix the rest soon.

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