Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Tech firms rush to solve issues with chip on their shoulders

Tech firms rush to solve issues with chip on their shoulders

After remaining silent for a day, Apple warned that all its Mac and iOS devices were affected.

Large tech companies like Android, Google and Microsoft have since released statements about the vulnerability.

"These bugs in the hardware can enable hackers using malicious programs to steal sensitive data which is now processed on the computer".

The recent reveal of two unprecedented security flaws has caused a number of computing companies to quickly react.

Only the Apple Watch was safe from attack by one of the security flaws, it revealed today, although software fixes had been issued for others. The long-term solution may rely on a hardware redesign, he said, with software patches acting to monitor and stop malicious behavior.

It has now changed that advice to say users should "apply updates" to mitigate any attacks instead. Google says it will roll out a fix with Chrome 64, which is due to be released on January 23rd. "Intel is committed to responsible disclosure". In their announcement, Apple says they have already released some mitigations for iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2 to help defend against Meltdown. The researchers verified their findings on Intel chips dating back to 2011, and released their own proof-of-concept code to allow users to test their machines. As such, they should keep everything updated; and only install apps from approved sources (in this case the App Store).

No Apple product has patches to protect against the Spectre flaws but the company promised updates for iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

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"Phones, PCs, everything are going to have some impact, but it'll vary from product to product", Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in an interview with CNBC.

Most Intel processors and some ARM chips are confirmed to be vulnerable, putting billions of devices at risk of attacks. Legal experts expect cloud service providers to be the leaders in this, with Amazon, Microsoft and Google all having solid reasons to hold Intel to account if it slows their computational capacity.

"Meltdown breaks the most fundamental isolation between user applications and the operating system".

The next time you see the software update icon pop up on your laptop, tablet or smartphone, don't ignore it. Another variant of Spectre, the company said, has "a near zero risk of exploitation" on its processors. It also began working with hardware and software manufacturers to help protect their users and the web.

On Thursday, Intel's stock closed down 1.8 percent to $44.43 a share.

It was recently revealed that almost all Intel processors, as well as AMD and ARM processors, are affected by the Meltdown and Spectre exploits.

"It's a positive thing that we have independent verification - researchers looking for vulnerabilities", Daly said. The "Meltdown" exploit breaks down CPU-level protections and allows a program to access memory that it otherwise would not have access to.

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