Intel chips now 'immune' to Meltdown and Spectre bugs after patch

Intel chips now 'immune' to Meltdown and Spectre bugs after patch

Google also deployed a Kernel Page Table Isolation (KPTI) fix that protects against the Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754) vulnerability. The other, Spectre, is harder to fix, but also harder to exploit, making it less of an immediate threat to consumer devices.

While Spectre affects devices using chipsets from three leading chip manufacturers, Meltdown affects Intel-powered devices in particular and threatens devices manufactured over the past two decades. ARM Holdings said it's working with Intel, AMD and operating system vendors to address the problem.

Google also warned that smartphones, tablets and other devices that use ARM processors will need a software update to be protected.

Researchers at Google's Project Zero and academic institutions including the Graz University of Technology in Austria discovered the problem a year ago and disclosed it Wednesday.

It emerged earlier this week that Intel was notified by Google last June of a flaw in its processor chips that could leave memory and data vulnerable to theft - leaving the company, and its rivals, scrambling to mitigate the risk.

The security issues could allow hackers to gather sensitive data, such as passwords, from the memory of computing devices, but not modify, delete or corrupt data through the exploits. AMD claims its chips have "near zero" vulnerability to the issues uncovered by researchers because of differences in its chip architecture.

Apple says the latest versions of its iOS, macOS and tvOS operating systems have been updated, while its Safari web browser will be "in the coming days".

Intel says it has already issued numerous updates and says the process will be complete by the end of next week. (Which it still says hasn't tangibly affected performance for the majority of its audience.) This statement from Intel is aimed to double down on reassuring users that the problem is well on the way to being fixed. If Intel is right, it will have closed a major security flaw in its processors.

In December, Apple came under fire for iPhone software changes that reduced the performance of some older models of its smartphone.

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