Grave bug found in 'everything' may slow down your devices by 30%
By Gong Zhe
A series of security flaws found in Intel chips were disclosed on Wednesday that could impact every phone and computer, allowing hackers to access protected information.
What's worse, the fix to one of the flaws may slow down your devices by up to 30 percent.
According to an article on The Register's website, one of the bugs is a "fundamental design flaw". If exploited by a capable hacker, the flaw could lead to a complete data leak.
Computers running Microsoft Windows, Apple's Mac OS and the open-source Linux can all be effected, if the system has an Intel CPU chip.
Other chip designers like AMD and ARM claimed they're not suffering at the same level.
AMD told Reuters that there is "near zero risk to AMD products at this time," while ARM spokesman Phil Hughes said the flaw in their chips can "at worst result in small pieces of data being accessed from privileged memory."
Intel said a fix has been made and is being tested. But The Register found a test showing that the fix will slow down the chips.
The test performed a database action on an Intel computer with the fix. In the best case, it's 17 percent slower than without it. And the worst case was 23 percent.
Servers and cloud services running on Intel platform‍ are also effected. /VCG Photo

Servers and cloud services running on Intel platform‍ are also effected. /VCG Photo

The Register said other computer tasks are also effected, by a percentage from 5 to 30.
It's unknown if any hackers know about the bug. Microsoft said they "have not received any information to indicate that these vulnerabilities had been used to attack our customers."
For now, a patch is available for computers.

Who should be feeling bad now?

- Intel. The company is now in a market battle with its main competitor AMD, whose Ryzen chip is winning users back. If the fix will impact chip performance, it's almost certain some users will switch to AMD chips.
Intel is now developing its next generation CPU chips. As the flaw exists in almost all chips made in the last decade, it's imaginable that the new chip also requires patching.
- Intel users. Intel introduced its high-end CPU chip series, the i9, in May 2017. The new series attracted a lot of hardware fans. But now they may start worrying if the chips will be slowed down due to security concerns. It can be a big let-down for the enthusiasts who pursue the ultimate computing performance.
- Apple. The smartphone maker was found to slow down users' iPhones due to decaying batteries not long ago. And now they may have to slow down the Mac computers, too.
- Developers of computer operating system (OS). The bug cannot be fix by Intel alone. It also requires software makers to patch. So engineers of OSes like Windows, macOS and Linux are having a hard time sorting things out.