One Intel chip flaw could let hackers read a computer's memory and steal passwords, while another that affects Intel, AMD and ARM chips lets hackers trick applications into giving up secret information Security researchers on Wednesday disclosed a set of security flaws that they said could let hackers steal sensitive information from almost every modern computing device containing chips from Intel, AMD and ARM.
"It is imperative that Intel acts swiftly to fix the problem and ensure consumers are fully compensated for all losses suffered as a result of their actions".
The security flaws are located in each computer's brain, known as the central processing unit or CPU. As a form of workflow optimization, they also preemptively perform tasks that are not necessarily needed.
While this data is supposed to be protected, researchers found some instances when the processor would leave the data exposed during the process.
Meanwhile, rival chip-maker AMD's stock price was up as much as 5% in yesterday's trading, before closing the session flat.
Meltdown has now only been identified on Intel processors.
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Desktops, laptops, cloud servers, and smartphones are affected by one or both vulnerabilities, the researchers warn.
The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team said the flaws "could allow an attacker to obtain access to sensitive information" and that a patch would only mitigate the threat. "Intel has begun providing software and firmware updates to mitigate these exploits", Intel said in a statement.
According to the researchers, the Meltdown flaw affects virtually every microprocessor made by Intel, which makes chips used in more than 90% of the computer servers that underpin the internet and private business operations.
The news prompted Intel's shares to slide more than 2 percent during trading on Thursday. "If you aren't up to date, then there's a lot of other nasties out there you should probably also be worrying about".