We’ve updated the post for more info and relevancy (c/o Denny Kovacs)
Two critical exploits discovered by security researchers have been found to affect nearly all of Intel and AMD processors in use today. The exploits, Meltdown and Spectre, allow malicious programs to steal data being processed by the computer. This data can range anywhere from passwords, photos, license keys, confidential documents, and more.
Both exploits are the result of design flaws that allow a malicious program to use what are known as side channels to access system memory(which contains that data being processed) and record it. Currently, there is no known case of these exploits being taken advantage of in a real-world scenario, and there have been patches pushed out for Linux, macOS, and Windows to mitigate any security risk.
Furthermore, these exploits affect virtually everyone and all systems that rely on either AMD or Intel processors. This includes laptops, desktops, smartphones, and cloud servers.
Suspiciously, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich sold off $24 million worth of stock late last year before the vulnerabilities became public knowledge. An Intel spokesperson said the stock trade was “unrelated” despite Intel knowing about the issue for five months.
Intel and AMD have stated that they have worked around the clock to provide patches and firmware updates to resolve the security issues, Intel specifically stating that “By the end of next week, Intel expects to have issues updates for more than 90 percent of processors introduced within the past five years.”
Uh-oh, it looks like Intel has a big problem on its hands. A new flaw has been discovered with the company’s CPUs, which puts all users at risk.
The flaw, which is being referred to as the “Meltdown bug,” affects all Intel chips produced from 1995 onwards. When exploited, the bug can permit hackers with access to users’ sensitive information.
Intel has released a statement saying that the flaw isn’t unique to their own chips. However, AMD has responded, saying that there is a “near zero risk to AMD processors at this time.”
Suspiciously, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich sold off $24 million worth of stock late last year, after the problem had been identified, but before it became public knowledge.
AMD has seen a significant rise in share price, while Intel has seen a decline.
It’s not all good news for AMD, however, as another flaw has been found which can affect systems using Intel, ARM, and AMD. “Spectre” can affect computers, phones and tablets.
In happier news, AMD has stated that it is working together with Intel to solve the issues:
“As we typically do when a potential security issue is identified, AMD has been working across our ecosystem to evaluate and respond to the speculative execution attack identified by a security research team to ensure our users are protected.”
What do you make of this? Are you worried about your system’s security? Let us know.
Source: Mashable, Business Insider, CNBC, BBC, Meltdown Attack, Ars Technica