Intel Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian Krzanich said fixes put in place to protect computers against a recently uncovered chip vulnerability will slow down machines, but have so far headed off any illicit efforts to obtain data. “We believe the performance impact of these updates is highly workload-dependent,” Krzanich said at the CES consumer electronics conference in Las Vegas on Monday. “As a result we expect some workloads may have a larger impact than others. As of now we have not received any information that these exploits have been used to retrieve customer data.” At CES, the Intel chief usually shows off how Intel chips have a future in new markets ranging from drones to cars. This time, he’s defending products that have long been the key components of most personal computers and internet servers — the main providers of revenue and profit for the company. While Intel and others have previously downplayed the possible impact of the fixes, including rare cases where computers might be slowed as much as 30 percent, Krzanich’s comments may indicate that the problem may be more pervasive.
Last week, the world’s biggest chipmakers and software companies, including Intel and Microsoft Corp., announced a vulnerability that leaves computers and smartphones susceptible to potential hacking. Google researchers last year discovered that a feature, present in almost all processors running computers and phones, could give cyberattackers unauthorized access to sensitive data. Krzanich thanked tech companies and others for ongoing efforts made to protect computers against the new threat. He said that Intel is working with them to lessen the impact of any fixes.
Intel said its chips weren’t the only ones affected and predicted no material impact on its business, while Microsoft, the largest software maker, said it released a security update to protect users. Google, which said the issue affects chips made by Intel, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and ARM Holdings, noted that it updated most of its systems and products with protections. Amazon.com Inc., the largest cloud-computing provider, said most of its affected servers have already been secured. Apple Inc. said its devices were potentially open to attack and updated its mobile and desktop operating systems.