Intel announces another security flaw in chips

Combined Shape

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Intel has revealed another hardware security flaw that could affects millions of machines around the world.

The bug is embedded in the architecture of computer hardware, and it can’t be fully fixed.

“With a large enough data sample, time or control of the target system’s behavior,” the flaw could enable attackers to see data thought to be off-limits, Bryan Jorgensen, Intel’s senior director of product assurance and security, said in a video statement.

But Intel said Tuesday there’s no evidence of anyone exploiting it outside of a research laboratory. “Doing so successfully in the real world is a complex undertaking,” Jorgensen said.

It’s the latest revelation of a hard-to-fix vulnerability affecting processors that undergird smartphones and personal computers. Two bugs nicknamed Spectre and Meltdown set a panic in the tech industry last year.

Trending:
CNN's Don Lemon Fails to Get Guest to Take 'Bait,' Instead Gets Contradicted on Slavery

Intel said it’s already addressed the problem in its newest chips after working for months with business partners and independent researchers. It’s also released code updates to mitigate the risk in older chips, though it can’t be eliminated entirely without switching to newer chips.

Major tech companies Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft all released advisories Tuesday to instruct users of their devices and software, many of which rely on Intel hardware, on how to mitigate the vulnerabilities.

As companies and individual citizens increasingly sign their digital lives over to “the cloud” — an industry term for banks of servers in remote data centers — the digital gates and drawbridges keeping millions of people’s data safe have come under increasing scrutiny.

In many cases, those barriers are located at the level of central processing unit, or CPU — hardware that has traditionally seen little attention from hackers. But last year the processor industry was shaken by news that Spectre and Meltdown could theoretically enable hackers to leapfrog those hardware barriers and steal some of the most securely held data on the computers involved.

Although security experts have debated the seriousness of the flaws, they are onerous and expensive to patch, and new vulnerabilities are discovered regularly.

Bogdan Botezatu, director of threat research for security firm Bitdefender, said the latest attack was another reason to question how safe users can really be in the cloud.

“This is a very, very serious type of attack,” Botezatu said. “This makes me personally very, very skeptical about these hardware barriers set in place by CPU vendors.”

Intel said it discovered the flaw on its own, but credited Bitdefender, several other security firms and academic researchers for notifying the company about the problem.

Botezatu said Bitdefender found the flaw because its researchers were increasingly focused on the safety and management of virtual machines, the term for one or more emulated mini-computers that can be spun up inside a larger machine — a key feature of cloud computing.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →






We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation