Jan 3, 2018

Computer security world buzzing about a big Intel bug

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

Coronavirus updates: Market ends worst week since financial crisis

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The stock market ended its worst week since the financial crisis, prompting the Fed to release a statement. Meanwhile, the WHO warned that countries are losing their chance to contain the novel coronavirus and raised its global risk assessment to "very high" Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,860 people and infected more than 84,000 others in over 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China. The number of new cases reported outside China now exceed those inside the country.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

California coronavirus: Latest case has no recent history of international travel

Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A new case of the novel coronavirus in California was announced on Friday after Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that 33 people had tested positive for the virus, noting the risk to the public remains low.

What's new: An adult woman with chronic health conditions in Santa Clara County who "did not recently travel overseas" or come into contact with anyone known to be ill was confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus on Friday by CDC and California Department of Public Health officials.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Big video game conference delayed amid coronavirus concerns

Photo: GDC

Next month's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco became the latest tech event to be cancelled or postponed amid growing concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The big picture: A growing number of events are being scrapped, including Mobile World Congress and Facebook's F8 developer conference. Some, like the giant SXSW event in Austin, insist they are moving forward.