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Chip vulnerabilities pose threat to millions of devices

15 January 2018 - 10:57 by David Aiken

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A major security scandal has been building over the past week as a result of admissions from chip manufacturers that vulnerabilities exist within the vast majority of computer, tablet and smartphone processors currently in use globally.

Although Intel was initially blamed, the so-called Meltdown and Spectre weak points were eventually revealed to be present on chips designed by other mainstream firms, including AMD and ARM, according to the Guardian.

Apple was just one of the hardware brands which confirmed that its devices were impacted, leaving everything from the iPhone to the MacBook range at risk.

Experts have pointed out that there are not currently any malicious programs which exploit these vulnerabilities in circulation, but advised that consumers still need to be very careful about the sites they visit and the software they download.

Several companies have already rolled out patches in order to address this issue, which means that users who want to carry out safe shopping online, without leaving themselves open to serious security issues, should install updates as soon as they are made available.

As is often the case with the unearthing of serious flaws, the actual discovery took place more than six months ago. In the interim, tech firms and software developers have been working to come up with suitable solutions to overcome this wide ranging weak link.

The flaws themselves are fairly complex, but effectively mean that hackers could have an easier time of bypassing device security, stealing private information and generally causing havoc. Encompassing chips made over the past two decades, the scale of this discovery and its implications for the wider marketplace are staggering

Staying secure and carrying out safe shopping online is not straightforward at the best of times, but this incident is sure to put consumers on edge and change the way processors are designed.