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Intel told Chinese firms about its chip flaws before telling US officials

January 29, 2018

The world’s biggest chipmaker may have endangered national security when it announced its recent bugs, Meltdown and Spectre.

The news: The Wall Street Journal ($) says that Intel told tech firms about the pervasive chips flaws before it informed the US government. That included the likes of Microsoft, Amazon, and Arm, but also China’s Lenovo and Alibaba.

Why it matters: Once Chinese firms found out about the flaws, it’s likely that the nation’s government also knew. That raises security concerns about what could have been done with the information—though there’s no evidence of wrongdoing.

Unfixed flaws: The bugs are still a big problem. Microsoft has recently disabled its Spectre fixes because Intel’s solutions are still causing computers to become unstable. And the clock is ticking: hackers will be developing ways to exploit the flaws while they remain unpatched.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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