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Intel aims to battle cyber security risks at a silicon level

In addressing the vulnerabilities reported by Google Project Zero, Intel and the technology industry have faced significant challenges. 

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich states on their website that thousands of people across the industry have worked tirelessly to make sure they delivered on their collective priority: protecting customers and their data. 

He comments, “I am humbled and thankful for the commitment and effort showed by so many people around the globe.

“And, I am reassured that when the need is great, companies, and even competitors, will work together to address that need.”

The security landscape is constantly evolving and there will always be new threats. 

This was the impetus for the Security-First Pledge Krzanich penned in January. 

Intel states that it has a long history of focusing on security, and now, more than ever, they are committed to the principles I outlined in that pledge: customer-first urgency, transparent and timely communications, and ongoing security assurance.

Krzanich continues, “Today, I want to provide several updates that show continued progress to fulfil that pledge. 

“First, we have now released microcode updates for 100% of Intel products launched in the past five years that require protection against the side-channel method vulnerabilities discovered by Google.”

“As part of this, I want to recognise and express my appreciation to all of the industry partners who worked closely with us to develop and test these updates, and make sure they were ready for production.”

With these updates now available, Intel encourages everyone to make sure they are always keeping their systems up-to-date, as it’s one of the easiest ways to stay protected. 

Intel has also shared more details of what they are doing at the hardware level to protect against these vulnerabilities in the future. 

Krzanich continues, “While Variant 1 will continue to be addressed via software mitigations, we are making changes to our hardware design to further address the other two. 

“We have redesigned parts of the processor to introduce new levels of protection through partitioning that will protect against both Variants 2 and 3.”

“Think of this partitioning as additional “protective walls” between applications and user privilege levels to create an obstacle for bad actors.”

These changes will begin with next-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors as well as 8th Generation Intel Core processors expected to ship in the second half of 2018. 

Krzanich concludes, “This is not a singular event; it is a long-term commitment, one that we take very seriously.

“Customer-first urgency, transparent and timely communications, and ongoing security assurance.”

“This is our pledge and it’s what you can count on from me, and from all of Intel.”

You can find out more about Spectre and Meltdown here:

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