Intel responds to ‘inaccurate media reports’ on security issue

In the last week, there’s been news spreading across the industry about a hardware-level security issue with Intel processors. The fix for the CPU security flaw, was supposedly going to reduce the speed of your processor (and therefore your PC) anywhere between 5 and 30 percent. Intel says this isn’t true.

Intel had planned to fully disclose the details of the bug next week, but given what they claim is inaccurate reporting in the media, they felt they had to speak out today. Understandably international news like this could have a significant impact on the company’s value and negatively impact consumer choice when buying their next processor.

Intel also claim they are not alone, in that this issue also impacts many other technology companies, including AMD, ARM Holdings and several operating system vendors. We’ll have to wait until next week for the full briefing on what went wrong and the plan forward. As with anything security related the exact issue is being kept quiet until the fix can be released, as to not expose users to the threat.

The takeaway here is that Intel says for regular users, the performance impacts are workload-dependent and should not be significant. They go on to say they will be mitigated over time.. which is actually incredibly interesting language, something we’ll be seeking clarification on next week.

Here’s the full statement from Intel.

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.

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Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwright
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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