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Millions of computers affected by Intel chip design flaw

Posted on Jan 05, 2018.

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A significant design flaw has been found in the design of Intel's chips affecting millions of computers from the past decade and potentially affecting cloud services such as Amazon Web Services and Azure.

The details of the flaw are being kept tightly kept under wraps although it is thought that it centers around the way certain Intel CPUs address certain types of memory in addition performance of affected hardware could be slowed down as much as 30%.

The flaw could be exploited by cybercriminals as a way to carry out attacks on machines running Intel Chips. in response, The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said that they are aware of the issue and that patches are being produced.

Intel currently working on a fix but the flaw will mean Microsoft, Linux and Apple will all need to update operating systems for computers around the world.

An industry-wide approach has been adopted by Intel to promptly and constructively resolve the issue and has said they are now providing software and firmware updates to mitigate these exploits.

Typically when researchers discover issues the information is shared with the affected company but it is only made public once a fix is available. 

The fix is then distributed as part of the routine updates that users expect to see, on occasion, on their machines and devices.

This secrecy in the interest of protecting users with affected hardware as cybercriminals will likely seize on the opportunity to exploit the flaw.

In this case, all standard procedures were carried out but the information was discovered and leaked before Intel was fully ready to distribute their patches.

The reach of this design flaw is thought to be significant although it is not yet known if cybercriminals have sought to exploit the information.

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