Intel CEO Brian Krzanich used his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to ease fears surrounding the industry-wide processor vulnerabilities discovered last week and to assure customers that fixes would be released within a week.
Kzarnich was at the show to detail new innovations from the company, including developments in the fields of Quantum Computing and autonomous vehicles, but felt the need to address the audience regarding Meltdown and Spectre.
He thanked the industry for its cooperation and stressed that Intel’s main priority was to protect customer data.
“As of now, we have not received any information that these exploits have been used to obtain customer data,” he said. “And we are working tirelessly on these issues to ensure it stays that way. The best thing you can do to make sure your data remains safe is to apply any updates from your operating system vendor and system manufacturer as soon as they become available.
“For our processors, products introduced in the past five years, Intel expects to issue updates for more than 90 percent of them within a week and the remaining by the end of January. We believe the performance impact of these updates is highly workload-dependent. As a result, we expect some workloads may have a larger impact than others, so we will continue working with the industry to minimize the impact on those workloads over time.”
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. Chips made by ARM manufacturers and AMD are also impacted.
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.
Intel has released some fixes already and has said that any downgrade in performance wouldn’t be noticeable to most users. Even still, the company is facing at least three class-action lawsuits.
Apple has also released new fixes for its platforms, fulfilling an earlier promise to ensure Safari users would be protected.
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