Meltdown & Spectre: Intel Faces Class-Action Lawsuits

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Intel faces legal action over industry-wide chip vulnerabilities

Intel is facing at least three class-action lawsuits in the US relating to the industry-wide processor vulnerabilities disclosed last week.

Meltdown and Spectre affect just about every single processor made over the past 20 years, causing emergency fixes and mitigations to be released for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.

Major cloud providers, including Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have also issued guidance to customers.

Intel

Meltdown & Spectre

Essentially, the vulnerabilities affect the kernel of the chips and could allow an attacker to read information that should otherwise be inaccessible. This means an attacker could obtain passwords, encryption keys or steal information from other applications.

Chips made by  AMD and ARM manufacturers are also affected, but it is Intel facing the immediate legal threats.

The Guardian reports that filings have been made in California, Oregon and Indiana, with plaintiffs arguing they should be compensated for the risk related to the vulnerabilities, along with the delay in public disclosure.

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They also cite the fact that the fixes released for Meltdown and Spectre could impact system performance. However Intel has argued that any downgrade wouldn’t be noticeable to most users.

It has also been speculated that the cloud providers could also seek some sort of compensation for the inconvenience of having to fix their own platforms.

Intel told the newspaper it was aware of the lawsuits but would be “inappropriate” to comment on the matter.

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