Skip to Content

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.

Deep Dive


A chip design that changes everything: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Computer chip designs are expensive and hard to license. That’s all about to change thanks to the popular open standard known as RISC-V.

Modern data architectures fuel innovation

More diverse data estates require a new strategy—and the infrastructure to support it.

Chinese chips will keep powering your everyday life

The war over advanced semiconductor technology continues, but China will likely take a more important role in manufacturing legacy chips for common devices.

The computer scientist who hunts for costly bugs in crypto code

Programming errors on the blockchain can mean $100 million lost in the blink of an eye. Ronghui Gu and his company CertiK are trying to help.

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.