According to multiple reports, Intel has a flaw in its CPU line from the last decade that could be exploited by malware or skilled hackers. The issue is currently being addressed by OS makers and Microsoft plans to have a patch out to address the kernel bug by releasing a patch on January 9th.
According to The Register, AMD responded to the outcry back during Christmas last year, declaring that their CPUs don’t suffer from the same kind of security flaws that Intel does…
“AMD processors are not subject to the types of attacks that the kernel page table isolation feature protects against. The AMD microarchitecture does not allow memory references, including speculative references, that access higher privileged data when running in a lesser privileged mode when that access would result in a page fault.”
This issue is pervasive for Intel x86 line of 64-bit CPUs, all of which have supposedly been available over the last decade. The Register states that fixing the issue from the software end will have a best case scenario of Intel’s CPUs slowing down by about 17% during operations, and up to 23% as a worst case scenario. Hence, Intel owners could be losing up to a quarter of processing power for OS-based instructions and user tasks.
Intel, however, fired back saying that the media reports are overblown, and that the benchmarks in performance loss are synthetic.
According to Tom’s Hardware, the issues will be fully addressed next Tuesday on January 9th and that Intel is stating that the security flaw isn’t quite as pervasive as the media reports have led on…
“Intel and other technology companies have been made aware of new security research describing software analysis methods that, when used for malicious purposes, have the potential to improperly gather sensitive data from computing devices that are operating as designed. Intel believes these exploits do not have the potential to corrupt, modify or delete data.
“Recent reports that these exploits are caused by a “bug” or a “flaw” and are unique to Intel products are incorrect. 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 is committed to the industry best practice of responsible disclosure of potential security issues, which is why Intel and other vendors had planned to disclose this issue next week when more software and firmware updates will be available. However, Intel is making this statement today because of the current inaccurate media reports.”
Some believe that Intel’s statement is just par the course for downplaying the issue. Many also believe this was done to stop the stock price from hemorrhaging following the initial news about the CPU security flaw.
Many assumed that the news about AMD’s Adrenalin drivers causing some DirectX 9 games to no longer function would be a huge blow to the company’s public image, but it’s nothing compared to what Intel is facing right now.