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Chip fix in the works

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Chip fix in the works

Intel has downplayed reports that many of its chips contain a flaw that could give hackers access to hidden information in the kernel.

The UK-based news portal, The Register, this week disclosed that major redesigns to the Windows and Linux kernels are in the works, in an attempt to protect users from the processor flaw.

Because the kernel is potentially visible to hackers, The Register postulates that it could be used to more easily exploit malware, or to access secure information.

Apparently the flaw is present in many Intel chips, as well as some Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and ARM chips.

In its response to the report, Intel state that 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,” the Intel statement reads. “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.”