Intel CEO Krzanich promises fix for Meltdown and Spectre within a week

9 Jan 2018287 Views

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Intel CEO Brian Krzanich at CES 2018. Image: Walden Kirsch/Intel Corporation

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Intel CEO praises tech industry for collaborative response to a problem that lay dormant on chips for a decade.

Brian Krzanich, the CEO of chip giant Intel, has downplayed the threats posed by the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, and said that Intel will issue updates for most computers within a week.

Despite the compelling quantum computing ambition recently revealed at CES 2018, Intel still has to deal with the aftershocks caused by revelations last week of two vulnerabilities, Meltdown and Spectre, which were discovered on computing chips worldwide.

‘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’
– BRIAN KRZANICH

Discovered six months ago by Google security researchers, the vulnerabilities only came to light publicly last week. They affect not only Intel chips made since 1995, but also chips made by manufacturers such as AMD and ARM. The problem is particularly acute for Intel because 90pc of computers in the world today contain Intel processors.

Speaking at CES 2018, Krzanich praised the efforts to combat Meltdown and Spectre.

“The collaboration among so many companies to address this industry-wide issue across several different processor architectures has been truly remarkable.

“Security is job number one for Intel and our industry. So, the primary focus of our decisions and our discussions has been to keep our customers’ data safe.”

Hackers haven’t yet cracked Meltdown or Spectre

Krzanich said there is no evidence that hackers have found a way to exploit the vulnerabilities.

“As of now, we have not received any information that these exploits have been used to obtain customer data. 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 90pc 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 minimise the impact on those workloads over time.

“When we come together like this, there are endless possibilities,” Krzanich said.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com