Meltdown and Spectre were identified by researchers at Google's Project Zero security team earlier this week, and could allow hackers access to all files within an affected device. The second bug named Spectre meanwhile affects chips made by Intel, ARM and AMD and lets hackers to trick "error-free applications" to shell out sensitive information. But once a security problem becomes public, computer users take a big risk if they do not install a patch to fix the issue. The researchers said Apple and Microsoft had patches ready for desktop computers affected by Meltdown. "We have not received any information to indicate that these vulnerabilities had been used to attack our customers", Microsoft said in a statement. This gives an attacker capabilities that bypass the common operating system security controls that we've relied on for 20 years.
Krzanich sought to allay worries about the situation in a hastily arranged conference call with reporters on Wednesday afternoon, stressing that there haven't been any known instances of hackers actually exploiting the vulnerability, and promising that fixes were on the way.
Microsoft and Google have said they expect few performance problems for most of their cloud computing customers.
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A laptop that uses Intel's sixth-generation Core chip known as Skylake, at the Intel booth during CES International in Las Vegas on January 7, 2016.
After keeping quiet for much of Wednesday, Intel released a statement on the reported security problems with its chips. AMD's EPYC server chips are in the beginning stages of assaulting Intel's server chip monopoly, and a closing of the performance gap could do wonders for its market share. "Intel has begun providing software and firmware updates to mitigate these exploits".
Intel also played down concerns about slowed performance due to the updates, noting that for the "average computer user", the impact should not be significant and will lessen over time.
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BI said that while many companies put in place plans to sell stock well ahead of schedule, and Krzanich's sale - of 245,743 shares owned by him and 644,135 shares obtained by exercising his options - was made under such a plan, he only put the plan in place on 30 October.
The two flaws "work on personal computers, mobile devices, and in the cloud", the researchers said.
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"Check with your operating system vendor or system manufacturer and apply any available updates as soon as they are available", Intel said.
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