A newly discovered vulnerability in computer chips raised concerns on Wednesday that hackers could access sensitive data on most modern systems. Chip giant Intel issued a statement responding to a flurry of warnings surfacing after researchers discovered the security hole which could allow privately stored data in computers and networks to be leaked. Google released findings from its security researchers saying it made the results public days ahead of schedule because much of the information had been in the media.
Computer security experts have discovered two major security flaws in the microprocessors inside nearly all of the world’s computers. The two problems, called Meltdown and Spectre, could allow hackers to steal the entire memory contents of computers, including mobile devices, personal computers and servers running in so-called cloud computer networks. There is no easy fix for spectre, which could require redesigning the processors, according to researchers.
As for meltdown, the software patch needed to fix the issue could slow down computers by as much as 30%- an ugly situation for people used to fast downloads from their favourite online services. Meltdown is a particular problem for the cloud computing services run by the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft. By Wednesday ,Google and Microsoft said they had updated their systems to deal with the flaw.
Amazon told customers of its Amazon Web Services(AWS) cloud service that the vulnerability “ has existed for more than 20 years in modern processor architectures.” But is had protected all instances of AWS and that customers must update their own softwares running atop the service as well.