Intel latest security breach sets off alarms worldwide

Posted on January 10, 2018

Humanity has unprecedentedly moved forward in terms of technology during the last two decades as e-commerce and social media have taken over in the new online era.


The advantages of accessing information in a matter of seconds are countless, but as with everything else in nature, it also has its downside.


In 2017, the United States was shocked after a cybersecurity breach that affected more than 140 million Americans took place at one of the largest credit bureaus in the country, Equifax.


The repercussions of such an event are still being closely tracked by regulators, as valuable personal and credit information is now in the hands of unknown cyber criminals. But now, the extent of

the Equifax breach seems to be shadowed by what could be the largest threat to computers all over the world, after a major security flaw has been found on Intel processor chips.


The ‘bug’, as many like to call these things, is actually a two-headed beast named by researchers as “Meltdown” and “Spectre” and, according to a report from The New York Times, hackers can use

them to steal the entire memory of a computer or a mobile device.


While there is no evidence of an actual breach currently taking place through this “holes”, the release of this information to public knowledge will probably set off a race in ‘hackersland’ to develop

an exploit for it.


The fact that an effective patch hasn’t been entirely set up to deal with the issue is definitely a concern for cybersecurity experts and even though Intel said in a statement recently that “these

exploits do not have the potential to corrupt, modify, or delete data”, the actual problem is not whether you can corrupt or delete, as it is that you can take a peek!


Stealing personal information is usually the goal of a cyber attack, not deletion or modification. So, this last statement is probably just a part of a damage-control PR strategy.


Spectre, which is the most potentially threatening of the two, is actually expected to “live with us for decades”, according to Mr. Paul Kocher, the Chief Scientist of the Cryptography Research

Division at Rambus Inc, as the flaw is related to a technique to increase processing speed, employed by all major players including AMD and ARM.


Solving this issue will not be easy, as it demands a major architectural change in the processors and reports are already talking about a potential 25%-30% processing slowdown caused by the

upcoming patches.


It seems cybersecurity concerns are here to stay during 2018 and one of the things you have to be careful with is how this can affect your credit if your personal information gets stolen.


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