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Intel chips still have a major security vulnerability

Another major vulnerability has been discovered in Intel hardware, potentially putting millions of devices around the world at risk.

Bitdefender researchers claim that "any machine" that uses an Intel processor and runs Windows, Linux, or FreeBSD is affected by the vulnerability, which occurs only a few months after the hugely harmful Specter and Meltdown issues.

The company says that both business and home users will be affected, since laptops, PCs and servers are all prone to error.

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Intel error

The vulnerability uses an Intel hardware protection error to open a side channel attack that allows attackers to access all information in the operating system kernel memory.

It does this by using a function known as & apos; speculative execution & apos ;, which aims to speed up the CPU of a device by letting it know which instructions may follow. Speculative execution, however, can leave traces in the cache, which attackers can hijack to gain access to systems and the data in them.

This new error bypasses all the safeguards implemented after the discovery of Specter and Meltdown in early 2018, meaning that it may affect previously patched systems.

"Criminals with knowledge of these attacks have the power to find the most vital, best protected information from companies and individuals around the world, and the corresponding power to steal, blackmail, sabotage and spy," said Gavin Hill, vice president, data center and network security products at Bitdefender.

"Research into these attacks is advanced because it touches on the roots of how modern CPUs work and requires a thorough understanding of CPU internals, OS internals and speculative execution of side channel attacks in general."

Bitdefender says it has worked with Intel to create a solution for the error that can now be downloaded.

It added that ecosystem partners such as Microsoft and Linux have also patched the vulnerability, but users must ensure that their systems are immediately up-to-date.

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