Tuesday February 19, 2019
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Another Security flaw is Revealed By Intel in its Chips

Intel has disclosed a new variant of the Spectre and Meltdown security flaws in the chips that hackers may use to extract sensitive data from hundreds of millions of computers and mobile devices.

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The Taiwan semiconductor firm produces Apple's A11 chip that is in the iPhone X.
New computer chip vulnerabilities discovered. Pixabay

Intel has disclosed a new variant of the Spectre and Meltdown security flaws in the chips that hackers may use to extract sensitive data from hundreds of millions of computers and mobile devices.

Intel is calling the new strain — Speculative Store Bypass (Variant 4) — and it is similar to the earlier flaw that taps into many of the same security vulnerabilities that were first revealed in January.

However, this time around it uses a different method to extract sensitive information, CNET quoted Intel as saying.

The new vulnerability also includes firmware updates for CPUs and Intel has already delivered microcode updates for Speculative Store Bypass in beta form to original equipment manufacturers.

Intel is classifying Variant 4 as a medium risk because many of the exploits it uses in web browsers, like Safari, Edge, and Chrome were fixed in the original set of patches, according to a blog post from the company.

IoT devices will become affordable with the help of Microchips.
Microchips, Wikimedia Commons

Intel has promised that the patches would be rolled out broadly in the next few weeks. The firmware updates would set the Speculative Store Bypass protection to off-by-default.

“If enabled, we have observed a performance impact of approximately two-to-eight per cent based on overall scores for benchmarks,” Leslie Culbertson, Intel’s Security Chief, was quoted as saying.

As a result, end users would have to pick between security or optimal performance.

Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities have been causing problems to companies like Intel, Arm and AMD that are major producers of chips for computers, laptops and mobile devices.

While Meltdown impacts only Intel chips, Spectre affects all other chips, including ARM and AMD. The vulnerabilities allow attackers to read sensitive information on users’ CPU.

Also Read: This Way China Can Help India In The Terms of Artificial Intelligence

While companies like Intel, Apple and Microsoft have issued updates to patch the flaws, the fixes have not always worked as intended, sometimes causing computer problems.

Earlier this year, following the news of the bugs getting out, all major tech players such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, including Intel, released security patches to help protect users from potential data theft. (IANS)

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Experts Conclude That Twitter Accounts Are Still Vulnerable

Insinia recommended that users should remove their phone number from the Twitter account untill the bug is fixed.

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Twitter, tweets
The Twitter logo is shown at its corporate headquarters in San Francisco, California. VOA

Despite claims of a fix by Twitter, researchers at a Britain-based security firm who earlier hijacked accounts of several celebrities and journalists to expose a vulnerability have said that the loophole still persists at the popular social media platform.

Insinia Security last week said it successfully hijacked the accounts of a number of celebrities, including Eamonn Holmes, Louis Theroux, Simon Calder and Saira Khan among others.

To take control of the accounts, the researchers at the company used fake SMS verification that made it appear as if they belonged to the account owners, The Telegraph reported.

Twitter, tweets, social media
Twitter allows publishers to monetise video views globally. (VOA)

A Twitter spokesperson told reporters on Friday that it had “resolved a bug that allowed certain accounts with a connected UK phone number to be targeted by SMS spoofing.”

But the hackers who posted the unauthorised tweets to celebrity accounts appeared to reproduce the experiment after Twitter made its claim, Gizmodo reported on Monday.

A simple method allowed researchers at Insinia Security to send tweets, direct messages, retweet and like tweets, follow and unfollow people, according to the company which warned that the vulnerability could be easily exploited by nation states, hackers and organised crime groups.

The vulnerability could be used to “spread fake news and disinformation via influential celebrities and journalists”, Insinia warned in a blog post.

Twitter, India, Smartphone
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

Insinia recommended that users should remove their phone number from the Twitter account untill the bug is fixed.

Also Read: Revenue Growth Of Facebook Ads Slowing Down in The U.S: Report

“Twitter should completely remove this functionality (SMS verification) as users rely on their phone added to account for two-factor authentication,” Insinia said. (IANS)