Intel processors made in the past decade have potential security flaw – report

Victor Barreiro Jr.
Intel processors made in the past decade have potential security flaw – report
The design flaw in the Intel chips may allow malicious programs to see protected information it shouldn't be able to see

MANILA, Philippines – The Register reported on Tuesday, January 2, that a design flaw in all Intel processors made in the last 10 years posed a potentially major security risk.

The design flaw in Intel’s processor chips, The Register says, could allow “normal user programs – from database applications to JavaScript in web browsers – to discern to some extent the layout or contents of protected kernel memory areas.”

Malicious programs could take advantage of the flaw to read the kernel memory of a device, and thus allow a program to see into protected information it shouldn’t be able to see. The kernel memory is the memory used for core components of an operating system and its interactions with the system hardware.

The error can be fixed by a patch on an operating system-level, but this has potentially big repercussions for Intel-based Windows, macOS, and Linux systems.

The report says, “The effects are still being benchmarked, however we’re looking at a ballpark figure of 5% to 30% slow down, depending on the task and the processor model.”

While this does not yet necessarily mean a significant decrease in performance, it is hoped keeping the information under wraps for now will hopefully allow researchers more time to look into and remedy the issue with less impact to average consumers and enterprise-level work. –

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Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.