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Factbox: Here’s what you need to do about newly discovered computer chip flaws

One of the worst CPU bugs has affected millions of devices including smartphones and PCs worldwide.

tech Updated: Jan 04, 2018 11:09 IST
Google’s Project Zero team discovers serious security flaws in Intel, AMD and ARM chips(Benjamin Howell/iStockphoto)

Researchers from Google, academia and cybersecurity firms discovered two flaws in computer chips that affect nearly all modern computers.

Here’s what you need to know and do about the newly discovered computer chip flaws.

* “Meltdown” is a flaw that affects laptops, desktop computers and internet servers with Intel chips and could let hackers steal data, such as passwords saved in Web browsers. Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc and Linux, the three major operating systems, are all issuing updates, though the Apple and Microsoft have not said precisely when.

* “Spectre” affects chips in smartphones and tablets, as well as computer chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Hackers can trick apps into leaking sensitive information.

* Spectre is less dangerous than Meltdown, but will be more difficult to patch.

* Consumers should check with their device maker and operating system provider for security updates and install them as soon as possible.

* Alphabet Inc’s Google said Android phones with the most recent security updates are protected, and users of popular web services like Gmail are also safe. Chromebook users on older versions will need to install an update whose release date has not been set. Chrome web browser users are expected to receive a patch Jan. 23.

* Researchers say an update is in the work for Apple laptops and desktops, but it is not yet clear whether the company’s iPhones and iPads are at risk.

* Major cloud services aimed at business customers - including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure - say they have already patched most of their services and will fix the rest soon.

For more information: Google’s security blog and Amazon Web Services:

First Published: Jan 04, 2018 11:08 IST