18 -- The discovery of the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities earlier this in January revealed a shocking fundamental weakness in nearly every modern computer processor from Intel, AMD, and ARM chips
. A Meltdown attack is capable of breaking the most fundamental isolation between the operating system and applications, thus allowing a program to access the memory of all the programs.
The speculative execution feature that they exploit is found in Intel, AMD, and ARM chips
. These chips are present in computers, mobile devices, cloud servers, and almost any other device you can think of that has been produced since 1995.
Intel, AMD, and ARM chips
are vulnerable to Spectre to some degree.
According to the team who discovered Spectre, virtually all modern processors are affected by the vulnerability, including Intel, AMD, and ARM chips
. Once again, the vulnerability is operating system agnostic.
AMD chips are also common in PCs, while ARM chips
are found in many smartphones and other internet-connected products, including cars and home appliances.
Google, meanwhile, released findings from its security researchers who sparked the concerns, saying it made the results public days ahead of schedule because much of the information had been in the media.The security team found "serious security flaws" in devices powered by Intel, AMD and ARM chips
and the operating systems running them and noted that, if exploited, "an unauthorised party may read sensitive information in the system's memory such as passwords, encryption keys, or sensitive information open in applications.
Interestingly, Apple executives shared that they are open to using ARM chips
as companion processors for future Macs.
Intel Atom processors have not gained much foothold in the market and most of the tablets are run on ARM chips
dominate in mobile phones and tablets, where companies such as Qualcomm Inc.
Currently, the number of ARM chips
shipped per year greatly exceeds the numbers of x86 processors sold by a wide margin approaching 10x.
It's been a year since the introduction of the first Intel Inside handset, but the company's struggles to break into the smartphone market continue as rivals Nvidia and Qualcomm improved speed and power efficiency of ARM chips
, which dominate that market.