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Flaw in Intel Chips Puts Millions of Computers At Risk

  • A flaw in computer chips, particularly those produced by Intel has been identified and could potentially put your pc or smart device at risk.
  • The bugs that could affect computers and smart devices, as well as cloud servers, are called Spectre and Meltdown.
  • All the major companies, including Windows, Linux and Apple, are now working hard to roll out the fixes and patches to solve this issue.
  • Everyone should update their systems as a matter of priority when patches become available, no matter how old or how new your computer is. That includes those devices you use for home and business.

The New Year has started badly for online security with news there is a serious flaw in the design of widely used Intel chips, something that could affect millions of computers bought over the last decade or so. While Microsoft, Linux and Apple are all working hard to update their operating systems in order to solve the problem, many computers still may be vulnerable and have been for some while.

Essentially, the flaw in the chip has gone unnoticed for the last decade and the problem has only just been uncovered by researchers. It puts many computers at risk from potential hacking because of a back door that gives access to the chip’s kernel. This means that hackers may well be able to get past any existing cybersecurity measures, including antivirus and firewall, no matter how robust they are.

Experts have pinpointed the disruption to speculative execution which is used to basically speed things up on your computer. Your data should be protect and, more importantly, isolated so that it can be kept secure. Researchers have found that this data can actually be exposed while your processor queues it up, giving hackers a chance to spy on your information.

What Cyan Solutions Are Doing?

Firstly, all operating systems that run on an intel chip, whether you have a new computer or an old one, will need to be updated. If you have automatic updates on your computer turned off for any reason, you should turn them on as a matter of priority.

For all Cyan Solutions managed Windows systems, patches will be applied as and when they become available and some already have. If you have any concerns at all, you can contact our support team for further information and help on 02392 333 365.

We will, of course, keep customers fully updated on progress as this story develops. If you have home computers or private devices, again, make sure you keep everything updated and download and install the latest patches as soon as they are available.

What The Intel Chip Flaw Means

Of course, we’re used to security issues and everyone, particularly businesses, understand there is a constant battle being fought to keep everyone safe online. Issues normally arise because of malware and other attacks but this is a flaw that affects one of the main hardware components of our digital devices.

The good news is that a fix is on the way for all Windows, Linux and Apple operating systems and should be available within the next few days and in many cases updates have already been issued.

The bad news, according to some experts, is that the patches could slow some computers down, particularly those over five years old. At the moment the information is that this performance hit could range from 5% to 30% depending on the processor and task, read here for further information.

This should not prevent you from updating your system, however, as it is imperative that patches are applied as soon as possible.

Is It Just Intel Chips?

There is also speculation that the flaw could reach beyond Intel chips to those made by ARM and AMD as well – you’ll be glad to know that these companies are working together to ensure they are covering all the bases.

What Is Being Done?

As you might expect, all the major operating platforms are working extremely hard to develop their patches to solve this particular issue. Microsoft have issued a statement saying:

“We are in the process of deploying mitigations to cloud services and are releasing security updates today to protect Windows customers against vulnerabilities affecting supported hardware chips from AMD, ARM, and Intel.”

Linux have already issued an update they say solves a large part of the problem. Apple have confirmed that all their devices accept their watches are affected by the chip flaw and have issued updates to mitigate many of the issues but will have further ones in the coming days.

Companies that offer cloud services are also potentially affected. Amazon have stated that all but a small percentage of their EC2 fleet is protected and they are providing updates to fill any slight cracks shortly. Google have also stated that they have updates and patches covered for their systems.

This is a serious problem but one which is being resolved as we speak. Cyan Solutions will update both our own and all our client’s software to ensure they have the latest patches and solutions in place to protect their systems.

If you have any queries at all, then contact our help team on 02392 333 365 or email us.


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