Skip to Content

Tech Firms Hope Hardware Fixes Won’t Be Required to Solve the Chipocalypse

January 5, 2018

Early concerns that a pervasive chip flaw called Spectre couldn’t be patched by software are starting to soften slightly.

Backstory: Two new chip flaws, Meltdown and Spectre, threaten to reveal private data in most of the world’s computers and many smartphones. (For some context, Apple says all Macs and iPhones are affected.) Meltdown is being solved with software patches, but Spectre was widely thought to be unsolvable with updates.

What’s new: As the Financial Times notes, Carnegie Mellon’s computer emergency response team has now U-turned on an early suggestion that “replacing vulnerable CPU hardware” was the only fix for Spectre. It’s deleted that text from its vulnerability note.

Now what? The Register outlines a series of software tweaks (warning: it’s pretty darn technical), which tech giants are working on in order to mitigate the flaw without resorting to new chips. But the site still warns that “the most effective fix is redesigned computing hardware.”

Deep Dive


Learning to code isn’t enough

Historically, learn-to-code efforts have provided opportunities for the few, but new efforts are aiming to be inclusive.

IBM wants to build a 100,000-qubit quantum computer

The company wants to make large-scale quantum computers a reality within just 10 years.

The inside story of New York City’s 34-year-old social network, ECHO

Stacy Horn set out to create something new and very New York. She didn’t expect it to last so long.

Proactive and predictive tools for transformation

Automated ERP monitoring prevents downtime and optimizes mission-critical business functions.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.