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THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images

The IT industry is bracing for the disclosure of a major bug in Intel chips that could affect processors going back a decade and require significant updates to Windows, Linux and cloud operating systems.

The big question: Making the software changes needed to mitigate the security risk could result in a significant performance drop, though the amount is unclear. Prominent security researcher Dan Kaminsky says that the worst-case scenario fears of a 30% performance hit is unlikely.

"Let's be a bit cautious about presuming to know the impact of the x86 page table vulnerability," Kaminsky said on Twitter. "This is pretty clearly a big deal, but the right people have been working on it. They're not the kind who would blithely ship a 30% across the board (performance) hit."

What we're hearing: Kaminsky told Axios that there could be some scenarios in which the performance impact is that high, but said that it is unlikely to be that severe for typical computing tasks.

Intel declined to comment.

Be smart: The first fixes might not be the last word on this. With a bug this widespread, there is significant incentive to explore multiple ways to solve the security issue and see which method would have the least impact on performance.

Go deeper

7 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

9 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.