Amid chip flap, Intel scurries to combat ‘inaccurate media reports’

Reporters leaked news about a catastrophic flaw in processor chips before Intel could issue a statement with a fix in place. Can the microchip giant regain and maintain credibility?

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Every computer in the world might be compromised by the biggest-ever security flaw—and Silicon Valley has known about it for months.

The Register preempted a coordinated press release from big tech about two microchip attacks that leave personal and sensitive information open to attack even when all software is running properly.

It wrote:

At best, the vulnerability could be leveraged by malware and hackers to more easily exploit other security bugs.

At worst, the hole could be abused by programs and logged-in users to read the contents of the kernel’s memory. Suffice to say, this is not great. The kernel’s memory space is hidden from user processes and programs because it may contain all sorts of secrets, such as passwords, login keys, files cached from disk, and so on. Imagine a piece of JavaScript running in a browser, or malicious software running on a shared public cloud server, able to sniff sensitive kernel-protected data.

As news circulated about the bug, tech companies and researchers began releasing available information in their quest to maintain credibility and assuage public fear.

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