Intel chip fix to take rest of week as Microsoft pulls patches

Chipping away at the problem
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Brian Krzanich

Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO

The chip bug saga that has put almost all PCs, Macs and mobile devices at risk of being hacked is likely to rumble on for at least another week. While Intel has announced that it needs another few days to release its patch, Microsoft has pulled its fixes after AMD-powered devices began to meltdown after users had installed the patches.  

Speaking at CES in Las Vegas, Intel's chief executive Brian Krzanich said software fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre bugs should be released in the coming few days. He said that 90 per cent of processors and products from the past five years would be patched 'within a week'.

"Before we start I want to take a moment to thank the industry for coming together," he told attendees. "Security is job number one for Intel and our industry, so the primary focus of our decisions and discussions have been to keep our customer's data safe."

Meanwhile Microsoft has pulled its own patch after users of AMD-powered devices has complained that the patch had completely crocked their devices. Microsoft is now preventing AMD PCs from receiving updates, to stop machines from getting into an unbootable state.

“Microsoft has reports of customers with some AMD devices getting into an unbootable state after installing recent Windows operating system security updates,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. “After investigating, Microsoft has determined that some AMD chipsets do not conform to the documentation previously provided to Microsoft to develop the Windows operating system mitigations to protect against the chipset vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown.”

The fallout from the chip bug scandal is already having a knock-on effect on the manufacturers under scrutiny. Intel announced that its share price has fallen as investors worry about the outcome of the chip flaws discovered earlier this week. Intel’s share fell by nearly 2 per cent as investors worry about the potential financial liability and reputational hit from the processor vulnerabilities.

While almost all PCs and mobile devices are reportedly affected by the flaws, Apple has also said that all Mac and iOS devices are also impacted. In a blogpost, Apple said it had released updates for iOS, the software on its phones and tablets, macOS, which is used by its computers and tvOS for its television products.

There are reportedly two separate security flaws, known as Meltdown and Spectre. Meltdown affects laptops, desktop computers and internet servers with Intel chips. Meanwhile Spectre affects chips in smartphones, tablets and computers. 

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