Security researchers at Google say they’ve discovered serious security flaws affecting computer processors built by Intel and other chipmakers. Google’s Project Zero team said Wednesday that the flaw could allow bad actors to gather passwords and other sensitive data from a system’s memory.
The tech company disclosed the vulnerability not long after Intel said it’s working to patch it. Intel says the average computer user won’t experience significant slowdowns as it’s fixed. Both Intel and Google said they were planning to disclose the issue next week when fixes will be available. Tech companies typically withhold details about security problems until fixes are available so that hackers wouldn’t have a roadmap to exploit the flaws.
But in this case, Intel was forced to disclose the problem Wednesday. Here’s what they had to say:
“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. Intel believes these exploits do not have the potential to corrupt, modify or delete data.
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. 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.
Intel is committed to the industry best practice of responsible disclosure of potential security issues, which is why Intel and other vendors had planned to disclose this issue next week when more software and firmware updates will be available. However, Intel is making this statement today because of the current inaccurate media reports.
Check with your operating system vendor or system manufacturer and apply any available updates as soon as they are available. Following good security practices that protect against malware in general will also help protect against possible exploitation until updates can be applied.
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.”