Pretty much every Intel processor in existence today comes with a serious vulnerability which, if exploited, could allow hackers access to sensitive information.
Cybersecurity researchers BitDefender say that the flaw itself is similar to what we’ve seen with Spectre and Meltdown. It’s a silicon-level threat which abuses Intel’s desire to make the chips as fast as possible. Any chip that supports the SWAPGS system call (allowing the processor to swap between the kernel mode and user mode memory rings) is vulnerable. That includes pretty much anything Intel has built since 2012.
In a statement, Gavin Hill, Vice President, Datacenter and Network Security Products at Bitdefender said: “Criminals with knowledge of these attacks would have the power to uncover the most vital, best-protected information of both companies and private individuals around the world, and the corresponding power to steal, blackmail, sabotage and spy.”
So, what is at stake here? BitDefender claims that hackers could obtain sensitive data like passwords, tokens and private conversations. Those that use a shared computing platform are most at risk. Through a cloud computing provider, for example, hackers could exploit the vulnerability to access credentials and information.
The good news is that there is a fix. The two companies have been developing it for the past year, together with Microsoft and the Linux Foundation, and it’s now live. Intel advises users to install the latest security patches from their operating system manufacturer as soon as possible.