Intel Continues To Deal With Meltdown/Spectre Fallout, CEO Addresses Chip Vulnerabilities At CES
Intel continued to scramble this week to deal with the ongoing fallout from the revelation that its processors contain security exploits, known as Meltdown and Spectre, which could affect millions of computers and devices.
Intel wasn't alone this week, of course, as nearly every major IT vendor in the industry – including other chip developers like AMD and ARM – raced to understand the extent of the threat and develop patches and updates to correct it. (AMD pulled back on earlier statements that the exploits posed "near zero risk" to its processors and is developing microcode and OS patch updates.) Aside from the need to quickly develop fixes for the problem, IT vendors were also struggling to determine how much of a performance hit the fixes would impose on IT systems.
But Intel continued to be the focus of the finger-pointing. Intel said it planned to issue within the next week updates for 90 percent of its processors from the past five years, with the remaining processors updated by the end of the month. The company sent channel partners a white paper outlining the steps and security tools needed to mitigate the Meltdown and Spectre exploits. And news reports disclosed Intel's plan to create a cross-company security group to address the exploit problem.
It was likely an especially tough week for Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, who delivered a keynote speech at this week's giant Consumer Electronics Show. While that speech is often Intel's time to shine and demonstrate its whiz-bang technology, Krzanich had to devote part of his speech to addressing the Meltdown/Spectre issue.
While the Intel CEO said there was no indication the exploits had resulted in stolen data, he said "the best thing" everyone could do to protect themselves was to "apply any updates" from operating system vendors and system manufacturers as soon as possible. He also said the performance impact of the fixes would be very "workload dependent."