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Fix for Intel processor flaw may slow down chips made in the last 10 years

/ 01:11 PM January 04, 2018

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A major flaw in Intel processors has recently been reported and it could compromise the security of computers using them. The patch for this bug may end up slowing down said computers.

The bug appears to be a fundamental design flaw in Intel processors made in the last ten years, or specifically the Intel x86-64 based hardware, according to a report by technology news site The Register. The flaw affects both Windows and Linux operating system protected kernels and may give attackers access to everything on a computer.

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Kernels are the very core of an operating system. It handles all the sensitive jobs in running a computer and thus has access to everything, including passwords, encryption keys, files and more.

Through the design flaw, attackers can gain access to a Windows or Linux kernel by installing a simple program. The most vulnerable are cloud hosting platforms and their servers. Should one server be compromised, all the other ones could be open to attack because they would all have similar hardware.

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An update on The Register’s report states that Microsoft has been working on a software fix since November last year. Developers working on Linux are also looking for a way to patch the gaping security hole. Until the Windows and Linux patches are released, Intel will be keeping further details in the design flaw under wraps.

Apple’s 64-bit macOS may also need an update to ensure security.

Unfortunately, the security patches may end up slowing down computers. Benchmark results gave an estimated range of 5 to 30 percent in performance reduction for the affected processors.

Meanwhile, AMD processors appear to be safe from attacks targeted to exploit this design flaw. Alfred Bayle/JB

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TAGS: design flaw, Intel, linux, MacOS, processors, security issue, Windows
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