Most Intel PCs 'immune' to Spectre, Meltdown by next week's end

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The flaws were discovered by several teams, working independently. Although hackers will find it harder to take advantage of Spectre, it is also more challenging for computer manufacturers to ward off, the researchers said.

Both the chipmaker and Google, which informed Intel about the vulnerability in June, said they were planning to disclose the issue next week when fixes will be available. In the meantime, criminal actors and nation states could further develop the Spectre vulnerability, making attacks easier to execute. The former only seems to affect Intel CPUs, with reports that the latter is on all three. "Key will be if Intel peers (AMD and others) demonstrate that this issue is unique to Intel or performance penalties are more severe at Intel vs. other solutions; it could result in share impact".

"This is not a bug or a flaw in Intel products", the company writes. "Intel is committed to responsible disclosure".

The electronics giant urged consumers and businesses to check with operating system vendors and device manufacturers for updates. It said that the impacts are "workload dependent" and "average users" should only see limited or negligible impacts on performance.

Operating system vendors including Apple, Microsoft and Google are also pushing out fixes to mitigate the flaws, and software developers are working on patches to address the threat posed by Spectre.

On Thursday, Apple confirmed that all Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but that no known exploits have impacted its customers.

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However, later on Thursday afternoon, CERT/CC withdrew that recommendation, saying merely that anybody affected should install operating system updates as soon as possible.

One Intel chip flaw could let hackers read a computer's memory and steal passwords, while another that affects Intel, AMD and ARM chips lets hackers trick applications into giving up secret information Security researchers on Wednesday disclosed a set of security flaws that they said could let hackers steal sensitive information from almost every modern computing device containing chips from Intel, AMD and ARM.

"It's a very big deal and the only thing people can do is wait for patches on systems and apply them", said Shuman Ghosemajumder, chief technology officer at Shape Security.

"Fully removing the vulnerability requires replacing vulnerable CPU (central processing unit) hardware", said the first bulletin.

Google said users of Android phones - who make up more than 80 percent of the global market - were protected if they had installed the latest security updates.

Security tools and protocols are meant to separate individual customers' data, but the recently discovered chip flaws would allow hackers to circumvent these protections.