Smartphone Users Beware: Chip Flaw Affects Mobile Devices

The researchers who discovered the vulnerabilities said that "almost every system", since 1995, including computers and phones, is affected by the bug. Meltdown and Spectre break the isolation between memory used by applications, and even applications and kernel-mode memory, posing a significant security risk if exploited. Intel has said that it's now rendered Intel-based PCs "immune" to both Spectre and Meltdown.

Meltdown is a security flaw in the hardware design of the chipsets that affects computers with Intel processor.

Although the three chip makers insist that the Kernel update will have "negligible" and "insignificant" performance impact, preliminary results do not concur.

Meltdown appears to only affect CPUs released by Intel, whereas Spectre also impacts processors from AMD and ARM-based chips in mobile & entertainment devices.

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The really interesting wrinkle is that Intel is claiming that it has a fix for "Spectre" at all.

Initial reports suggested any fix could slow down computer performance by up to 30 percent. Are you worried about your system's security? It's worth noting that the bugs are discoverable.

"Modern operating systems rely upon Intel's chips to provide some essential security services - but if a flaw has been found then the operating systems themselves will need to be updated to do the job that they believed Intel's chips were doing properly", said independent security expert Graham Cluley.

Intel has been approached for comment on whether New Zealand computer users could be entitled to compensation. Intel said it continues to work with its partners and others to address these issues, and appreciates their support and assistance.

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To simplify things, a microprocessor is basically the brain of a computer.

In addition to personal computers, cloud services are also at risk due to this flaw. Besides when you are talking 15 years of chips being affected there was never going to be any way Intel would have done a recall. Google and Microsoft have also issued security patches for their Web browsers, computers and smartphones.

Windows 10 users have already received the update KB4056892 earlier this month, while Windows 7 and Windows 8 users will be getting the update next Tuesday. Unfortunately, this involves reducing the overall performance of the operating system. Executives routinely sell stock, but this move caused some suspicion at the time for just how much stock Krzanich sold.

Intel's share price has fallen since the Meltdown and Spectre flaws became common knowledge. Intel claims that the performance impact will be workload-specific, and will not be significant for the average computer user.

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Most interesting (and potentially troubling) about the transactions is the fact that it left Krzanich with exactly 250,000 shares-the bare minimum that he is required to hold as CEO of the company, according to the company bylaws.

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