Intel, the microprocessor giant, faces one of its worst crises in 50 years. A serious error in the design of its processors could lead to serious security problems for both manufacturers and developers and users, according to The Register.
Neither the causes nor the scope of the failure is known, but according to the Linux developers, the problem is serious and complicated to solve. In a statement, Intel says the failure does not allow modifying or deleting data from the system and adds that this design is not exclusive to the company’s processors.
Intel Responds to Security Research Findings: https://t.co/unPxKKSpQM
— Intel Official News (@intelnews) January 3, 2018
This error in the processors gives access to any application to reserved memory spaces. A hacker could take advantage of this error to gain permission from “superuser” and control the system remotely. Thus, the attacker could access the core memory of the operating system, the hidden space where sensitive information is stored as passwords.
To protect this information, the core memory is divided into different spaces, but through this failure, an attacker can access from one space to another. According to experts, the error can not be solved with a microcode update; the only way is through patches in the operating system of each device.
Intel says that this error is not only in its processors
Linux developers have already created a system update to solve the problems derived from the design failure of Intel processors. Now it is expected that both Apple and Microsoft do the same.
This solution will have negative consequences on the performance of the devices, although Intel says it will not be meaningful for the average user. According to the first studies conducted on patched Linux machines, the performance drop is between 5% and 30 %. This affectation could vary depending on the platform and be reduced in future updates.
The error not only affects home computers and tablets but also has an impact on cloud platforms and large data centers that serve thousands of companies. At the moment, Amazon and Microsoft have already announced cuts for maintenance of their systems that could be related to this failure, publishes Engadget.
According to The Register, all 64-bit processors created in the last decade would contain the error. Intel controls 80% of the market of processors for computers and more than 90% of the market of processors for laptops and servers, which would imply an affectation in millions of machines all over the world.
— brainsmoke (@brainsmoke) January 3, 2018