Most Intel PCs 'immune' to Spectre, Meltdown by next week's end

Apple says Meltdown and Spectre flaws affect 'all Mac systems and iOS devices,' but not for long

Apple says Meltdown and Spectre flaws affect 'all Mac systems and iOS devices,' but not for long

Representational ImageComputer security experts have discovered two major security flaws in the microprocessors inside almost all of the world's computers.

Meltdown is a flaw that affects processors made by Intel.

Alphabet Inc's Google said Android phones with the most recent security updates are protected, and users of popular web services like Gmail are also safe.

Don't panic. Here's what you should do. AMD chips are also common in PCs, while ARM chips are found in many smartphones and other internet-connected products, including cars and home appliances.

While researchers say the Meltdown bug is limited to Intel processors, they have verified Spectre as a problem for Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and ARM processors. With the Spectre flaw, however, it appears that there is no simple fix, and some are suggesting that the only way to completely solve the problem will be to recall and replace the millions of affected computer chips. You'd better get used to it, because Spectre and Meltdown are deep problems that aren't easily patched. It has mitigated Meltdown with iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2 updates, and plans to release mitigations in Safari to defend against Spectre.

Initially, AMD told users its chips were not subject to the same sort of attacks as Intel's chips, but the company has since updated its stance to say its chips are only affected by some of the announced hacks, and these could be fixed with a simple software update.

Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Google and Microsoft (MSFT) have reported seeing "little to no performance impact" from the software patches and firmware updates, Intel said in a news release. The said flaw could leave users' PCs exposed to cyber attacks, which will let hackers have access to sensitive or personal data inside the computer.

"Intel will continue to work with its partners and others to address these issues, and Intel appreciates their support and assistance", the release added. One of the concerns is that the updates may slow performance but Krzanich has denied this.

Patches deployed to combat the flaws could slow computers by as much as 30% depending on what you're trying to do, according to estimates posted on Linux message boards.

As The Register explains in a post that picks apart Intel's "crap attempt to spin its way out" of the CPU issue, performance issues may vary just like Intel says.

Data centers and enterprise computers may be impacted the most. Experts say it could mean processors require a complete redesign.

Lawyers filed a lawsuit in San Jose, Calif., federal court on Wednesday that sought class action status and compensation for people who had bought vulnerable Intel chips or computers that came with them already installed.

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