Intel chips now ‘immune’ to Meltdown and Spectre bugs after patch

Intel has announced a host of security updates designed to completely negate the threat posed by the worrying Meltdown and Spectre chip exploits.

The company said the patch will remedy 90% of the chips it has released in the last five years, making them immune to the problem.

Intel says it has already issued many of the updates and says the process will be complete by the end of next week.

“In addition, many operating system vendors, public cloud service providers, device manufacturers and others have indicated that they have already updated their products and services,” Intel writes in the press release.

Intel’s rapid response comes after startling revelations from Google Project Zero over the vulnerabilities, particularly within Intel chips (Meltdown) but also those from all processor manufacturers (Spectre).

Kernel memory

The relatively easy-to-implement exploit could give malicious apps a pathway to a device’s kernel memory data. This means access to login credentials and saved credit card details, in unencrypted formats.

The underlying flaw in all microprocessors, dubbed Spectre, also leaves machines running on ARM and AMD architecture vulnerable. Experts say it could mean processors require a complete redesign.

Related: Best Intel processor

Amid complaints the patch is negatively affecting performance The firm reiterated its earlier claim that average users won’t see significant downturns in output.

“Intel continues to believe that the performance impact of these updates is highly workload-dependent and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time,” it wrote on Thursday.

The matter is sure to be a subject of intense discussion at CES 2018, which kicks off next week. Executives from all of the major processing firms can expect a serious grilling from the press corps.

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