Most PCs expected to get slower due to chip flaw fix

Intel Core i5 Prozessor

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich on Thursday sent an open letter to the technology industry, pledging the company would make frequent updates and be more transparent about the process, and that it would report security issues to the public in a prompt manner.

Created to address flaws in the speculative execution implementation in Intel's processors, most of which are shared with chips from its rivals including AMD and Arm, Intel's patches aim to close the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities which allow unprivileged code to access supposedly-protected memory to steal confidential data including passwords. At a bigger risk are computers used by government agencies, big corporations and virtual computing services like the ones run by Amazon Web Service and Google Cloud.

Users of Windows 8 or Windows 7 systems using Haswell or older CPUs and would see a decrease in system performance after patching the flaw, Myerson noted. Windows 10 is only on a quarter of PCs. Customers will hardly notice the difference, Myersohn expects.

Then, in the final analysis, we'll have to wait and see just how much the entire internet slows down after patching every processor in the world.

"Security is incredibly important to us as a processor company, and we're absolutely all over this", Su told Yahoo Finance this week at CES 2018 in Las Vegas.

Windows customers aren't alone.

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AMD has published an update on its processor security in the wake of the Spectre and Meltdown saga.

Apple released updates for iOS, macOS High Sierra, and Safari on Sierra and El Capitan, noting the issue relates to all modern processors and affects almost all computers and operating systems.

Intel has pledged to further transparency, whilst altering its guidance on performance issues around security fixes, after recent revelations of two major CPU security flaws.

Affected companies, keen to quash any speculation that the flaws could require the replacement of millions of chips or provoke lawsuits caused by slowing computer performance, have been striving to play down the scale of the threat.

Intel learned of the security flaw last June and several months later, in late November, Krzanich exercised and sold almost 900,000 company shares and stock options, making about $24 million, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. For example, Microsoft's security update ended up rendering useless some PCs equipped with AMD chips, forcing them into a perpetual blue screen of death.

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