A security flaw in Intel processors has been headlining tech news today, but what are the key points you need to be aware of?

Yesterday it came to light that Intel are working on a fix to a security flaw found in the majority of their processors. It is estimated that 90% of laptops and 80% of computers worldwide use Intel processors and are therefore at risk to the security vulnerability that has the potential to allow criminals to steal personal data.

This morning Google Researchers said that ?serious security flaws? were also found in AMD and ARM processors which affects almost all Windows, Android and Linux users. However, according to the UK?s National Cyber Security Centre, there is currently no exploit to the vulnerabilities. So let?s not panic too much!

It is apparent that the industry has been aware of the vulnerability for months and have been working secretly on a fix. It is not uncommon for the industry to do this, it is vital that a fix is created before the vulnerability is exploited. Often when security researchers find a vulnerability, they share the information with the affected company and agree not to publicise until a fix has been implemented. Now that the exploit has been made public, there is concern that vulnerabilities are discoverable and criminals may attempt to take advantage.

We should expect to see updates on almost all computer, mobile and tablet devices over the next few months which will include security fixes to the vulnerabilities. Some tech firms have already made announcements regarding the patches;

  • ARM, whose computer chips are used by many smartphone manufacturers, say they have already released patches to their customers.
  • Microsoft, who use Intel processors in their devices, have said they will release updates on Thursday to increase security on their devices.
  • Apple are currently working on updates for supported laptops and desktops. They have not mentioned whether iPhones and iPads are affected.
  • Google created a blog stating that up to date Android devices were protected and they will be releasing security updates for Chromebooks and the Chrome web browser will have updates released on the 23rd January
  • AMD believe there is ?near zero risk to their products at this time.?

It seems however that Intel have struggled to create a patch that does not affect computer performance. It is believed by some researchers that current fixes to the Intel processors can slow down computer performances by up to 30%. Intel believe this is exaggerated, and that computer performance is ?workload-dependant?. They say that performance for the average computer user should not be significant, but they do not say that current patches do not affect performance whatsoever.

Over the next few weeks users should be keeping an eye out for updates on all devices. It is imperative that all devices are kept up to date as much as possible to increase security and stay protected by known breaches and exploits. Cyber Wise will keep up to date with all the latest news and inform subscribers of all the important information.