Updated 7:30 PM ET: Researchers have now disclosed two new exploits that impact virtually all modern processors from ARM, Intel, and AMD. Microsoft has also issued an emergency patch for Windows users.
Initial reports suggested that the security flaw, which reportedly would allow attackers to access sensitive information such as passwords and files cached on a disk, affects Intel processors released over the past 10 years. However, in its response, Intel says that the issue isn't unique to Intel products, and the company is working with other vendors on a solution. From Intel:
Intel is committed to product and customer security and is working closely with many other technology companies, including AMD, ARM Holdings and several operating system vendors, to develop an industry-wide approach to resolve this issue promptly and constructively.
Intel also used its response to push back on the idea that forthcoming fixes will have a "significant" impact on performance.
Contrary to some reports, any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time.
For its part, ARM has confirmed in a statement to Fortune that it is working with Intel and AMD on mitigating the attack. Further, the ARM spokesperson stressed that "this is not an architectural flaw; this method only works if a certain type of malicious code is already running on a device and could at worst result in small pieces of data being accessed from privileged memory."
AMD also confirmed to Fortune that its chips were affected by some related security exploits, but the company pressed that "due to differences in AMD's architecture, we believe there is a near zero risk to AMD processors at this time."
You can read Intel's full response below:
Intel and other technology companies have been made aware of new security research describing software analysis methods that, when used for malicious purposes, have the potential to improperly gather sensitive data from computing devices that are operating as designed. Intel believes these exploits do not have the potential to corrupt, modify or delete data.
Recent reports that these exploits are caused by a "bug" or a "flaw" and are unique to Intel products are incorrect. Based on the analysis to date, many types of computing devices — with many different vendors' processors and operating systems — are susceptible to these exploits.
Intel is committed to product and customer security and is working closely with many other technology companies, including AMD, ARM Holdings and several operating system vendors, to develop an industry-wide approach to resolve this issue promptly and constructively. Intel has begun providing software and firmware updates to mitigate these exploits. Contrary to some reports, any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time.
Intel is committed to the industry best practice of responsible disclosure of potential security issues, which is why Intel and other vendors had planned to disclose this issue next week when more software and firmware updates will be available. However, Intel is making this statement today because of the current inaccurate media reports.
Check with your operating system vendor or system manufacturer and apply any available updates as soon as they are available. Following good security practices that protect against malware in general will also help protect against possible exploitation until updates can be applied.
Intel believes its products are the most secure in the world and that, with the support of its partners, the current solutions to this issue provide the best possible security for its customers.
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