Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Computer in the dark

Patches released to fix major Intel vulnerability

If you’ve bought a computer in the past decade with Intel on-board, you might want to download some security patches ASAP.

Everyone has had to install a patch on their computer at one point in time, but these days, your computer takes care of it for you. You’ll download it, restart, and then go off and get a coffee, while the computer does its thing, fixing something in the background.

This week, quite a lot of us will be doing that, because if your computer runs on an Intel chip bought in the past eight or nine years, there’s a good chance the makers of your operating system are going to release something to stop a security flaw from being exploited.

Intel has this week addressed a security flaw that was revealed to it, releasing patches and updates, which may affect performance depending on what’s being changed, but depending on what you’re doing, may not necessarily show an impact.

For instance, Apple has said Safari shows “no measurable performance impact”, though has warned that if you’re running apps not approved by the Apple App Store that may not be trusted, Apple has a “full mitigation” mode that can keep this flaw from being executed at the cost of performance reduction that can hit as high as 40 percent.

We’d be surprised if most people saw an impact, though the same will likely be true on the Windows side of things, because owners of an Intel-equipped PC will see updates, as well.

Every current version of Windows is about to receive an update, so you can just likely rely on your copy of Windows to tell you when it needs to install something, though if you’ve switched off auto-updates, it’s time to ask your system to look for a security patch.

These patches are essentially fixing a vulnerability that could allow a hacker to read sensitive information on your computer by looking between processes. Some of this could be crucial, such as password or credit information, and others could be cookie-based, with the issue found on Intel’s older CPUs.

Intel says it has been addressed in select 8th and 9th gen Intel Core processors, and should be dealt with from future processors, but it does mean the hardware issues need to be addressed, which means patches from your operating system maker and potentially others, too.

Not every device out there will have these issues, mind you, which means your iPhone, Android, and wearables are totally fine, as these devices aren’t reliant on Intel chips.

Basically, if you have a sticker on your computer that says “Intel” on it, or you have a Mac from the past decade, it’s time to go online and get your security update ASAP.

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