Major chip flaws affect billions of devices


Nearly all computers worldwide - and many other devices - have been exposed to security flaws which leave them vulnerable to attacks by hackers. Researchers discovered gaps in security stemming from central processing units - better known as the chip or microchip - which could allow privately stored data in computers and networks to be hacked. So far no data breaches have been reported. Consider the figures for personal computers alone: there are 1.5 billion in use today (desktop and laptop combined) and around 90% are powered by Intel chips. That means exposure to the Meltdown bug is potentially huge. The bugs allow hackers to potentially read information stored on a computer memory and steal information like passwords or credit card data. MicrosoftApple and Linux, the three major operating system makers, are all issuing patches, though Apple has not said precisely when. Microsoft released an emergency Meltdown patch for Windows 10 on 4 January; it will subsequently be applied to Windows 7 and 8 machines.