What you need to do about newly discovered computer chip flaws — Factbox

Intel processor

Intel processor

The tech giant says computers powered with hardware by AMD, Intel's biggest competitor, are also affected.

Google, Amazon and Microsoft said they have started rolling out security fixes for their cloud service platforms.

Intel Corp said fixes for security issues in its microchips would not slow down computers, rebuffing concerns that the flaws found in microprocessors would significantly reduce performance.

The vulnerability which affects processors from Intel, AMD, and ARM could allow hackers to steal passwords and other secret data. Make sure to allocate sufficient memory to reduce the performance impact. Instead, they impact everything from phones to PCs and servers. This, however, requires access to protected kernel memory, which hackers can exploit through malicious programs.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich criticized media coverage of the vulnerabilities as overblown. "Intel believes these exploits do not have the potential to corrupt, modify or delete data".

On Wednesday, Intel admitted to creating processors with the serious flaws that were originally revealed by British media outlet The Register. It's common for a company dealing with security flaws to sit on the information in hopes of fixing the problem before hackers discover the vulnerabilities. The chip-makers have issued contradictory statements downplaying the severity of the bugs, but security experts are less sanguine.

Apple confirmed that Spectre and Meltdown affects its Mac and iOS devices.

According to the publication, only the developers of the operating systems can correct this defect.

For server systems, the security fix could also have a massive effect.

Security researchers released documentation this week of critical vulnerabilities in modern processors used on almost every computer around the world. But it's also much harder to fortify against - Spectre can work on most Intel processors and many AMD and ARM processors, and the only known surefire way to completely safeguard against it is to simply not use a vulnerable processor. 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 said in a press release. This could come in the form of a more aggressive marketing tactic or better security features for their CPUs.

Due to this, desktop, laptop, and cloud computer owners should be worried. The company downplayed these issues in a statement on Wednesday, but it wasn't enough to prevent to stock from shedding another 3.4% by 11:30 a.m. EST on Thursday. Krzanich sold all of those shares for a little over $39 million, apparently netting about $25 million.

Meltdown is a flaw that allows any attacker to access data in the kernel memory that is generally secured from user access. Updates are expected to be delivered soon.

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