Security flaws put virtually all phones, computers at risk

Security flaws put virtually all phones, computers at risk, by Douglas Busvine.

Security researchers on Wednesday disclosed a set of security flaws that they said could let hackers steal sensitive information from nearly every modern computing device containing chips from Intel Corp, Advanced Micro Devices Inc  and ARM Holdings. …

Researchers with Alphabet Inc’s Google Project Zero, in conjunction with academic and industry researchers from several countries, discovered two flaws. The first, called Meltdown, affects Intel chips and lets hackers bypass the hardware barrier between applications run by users and the computer’s memory, potentially letting hackers read a computer’s memory and steal passwords. The second, called Spectre, affects chips from Intel, AMD and ARM and lets hackers potentially trick otherwise error-free applications into giving up secret information. …

The updates to fix the problems could cause Intel chips to operate 5 percent to 30 percent more slowly. …

Intel denied that the patches would bog down computers based on Intel chips.

“Intel has begun providing software and firmware updates to mitigate these exploits,” Intel said in a statement. “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.” …

It was not immediately clear whether Intel would face any significant financial liability arising from the reported flaw.

“The current Intel problem, if true, would likely not require CPU replacement in our opinion. However the situation is fluid,” Hans Mosesmann of Rosenblatt Securities in New York said in a note, adding it could hurt the company’s reputation.