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Major security flaw found in Intel processors

Developers are working to fix a major security hole that’s been found within Intel chips made in the last decade, according to reports.

The security flaw has been found in virtually all Intel processors and will require fixes within Windows, macOS and Linux.

While specific details of the flaw have yet to be made public it is said to be a significant security hole affecting millions of computers. Patches are already available within some versions of Linux and some testing versions of Windows, although they are expected to slow down computers making some actions up to around 30% slower.

The details of the fixes being developed suggest that the issue centres on the accessing of secure parts of a computer’s memory by regular programs. It is feared that the security flaw within the processors could be used to access passwords, login details and protected information on the computer.

The fixes involve moving the memory used by the core of the computer’s operating system, away from that used by normal programs so that they cannot be manipulated to exploit the hole and gain access to the protected kernel memory.

The security flaw is also thought to affect cloud servers, with Amazon, Microsoft and Google all expected to have to fix the bug with similar performance-reducing patches.

How serious this flaw is yet to be disclosed publicly but it would appear that the various operating system developers are viewing it as a serious problem that cannot be addressed by patching with a small update.

Further details are expected to be released by the end of the week.

Neil Tyler

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