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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.

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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)

Next Story

Chinese Network Security Lab Proposes 24-Hour Online Testbed, Welcomes Cyber Attack from Any Individual

The Nanjing-based laboratory said Wednesday that authorised users can get corresponding bounties based on their test results

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Chinese, Network, Security
The permanently online and globally open testbed, which is called Network Endogens Security Testbed (NEST). Pixabay

A Chinese network security laboratory has proposed a 24-hour online testbed, welcoming cyber attacks from any individual or organisation globally.

The permanently online and globally open testbed, which is called Network Endogens Security Testbed (NEST), would accept public tests with a total reward of 1.5 million yuan ($2,18,000), according to the Purple Mountain Laboratory for Network Communication and Security.

The Nanjing-based laboratory said Wednesday that authorised users can get corresponding bounties based on their test results, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Current network security relies on software patches or anti-virus programmes, which is like taking pills after getting ill, said Wu Jiangxing, an academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Chinese, Network, Security
A Chinese network security laboratory has proposed a 24-hour online testbed. Pixabay

As the proposer of Cyber Mimic Defence Theory, Wu said the next generation information technology should be equipped with improved “autoimmunity” in the first place.

Wu said that NEST could effectively suppress security threats caused by hidden vulnerabilities or virus Trojans without relying on external defence measures. The more it is attacked, the more protective experience it can accumulate.

NEST will provide a global public test platform for all kinds of network equipment and information systems to measure their security indicators, and offer skill training for network security practitioners, according to the laboratory.

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“Whether the network is safe or not, hackers have a say. They are also welcomed to challenge it,” Wu said. (IANS)