Intel Corporation was forced to admit the existence of troubling security vulnerabilities on all Intel CPUs manufactured as far back as 2004.
Intel CPUs power most desktops, laptops and servers in use today including servers and cloud based storage computers used by Google and Amazon as well as military and government servers housing extremely sensitive material.
This security flaw impacts essentially any Intel CPU manufactured since 2004.
The vulnerability is caused by Intel’s use of “speculative execution” which is a shortcut method used to increase processor speed, whereby the CPU “speculates” as to what the next user command will be, and fetches the code or kernel data to carry out that command so it is standing by, ready to execute.
However, Intel’s speculative execute code may circumvent normal security features by accessing and fetching secure kernel data without the normal security checks.
Kernel data is the most sensitive part of the computer as it controls all other programs on the computer.
This could allow malware or a hacker access to the most confidential information on a computer or server with an Intel CPU.
Intel, along with Microsoft, Linux and Apple are scrambling to develop a “patch” to plug this massive security vulnerability.
Because the patch will require changes to the Operating System at a kernel level, the patches are expected to substantially decrease the performance of the Intel CPUs.