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Intel details rollout of Meltdown and Spectre security updates

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Intel has detailed its plans to begin the fight against the Meltdown and Spectre security exploits that shocked the world this week.

The chipmaker has said it is "rapidly issuing" updates for all Intel-based computer systems that may have been affected by the flaws. 

Meltdown and Spectre were identified by researchers at Google's Project Zero security team earlier this week, and could allow hackers access to all files within an affected device.

"Intel and its partners have made significant progress in deploying updates as both software patches and firmware updates," the company said in a press release.

It said that updates have already been issued for "the majority" of Intel processors launched within the past five years, and that by the end of next week, it expects to have issued updates for more than 90 per cent of processor products introduced within the past five years.

"Intel will continue to work with its partners and others to address these issues, and Intel appreciates their support and assistance," the release added. "Intel encourages computer users worldwide to utilise the automatic update functions of their operating systems and other computer software to ensure their systems are up-to-date."

Intel shares have fallen dramatically over the last few days as investors react to the news that nearly every computing system will be affected by the flaws, which can also impact hardware made by AMD and ARM.

The latter two companies issued immediate statements concerning the flaws soon after they were revealed, yet Intel was a little slower to react. 

Reports had claimed that any potential patch or update for the flaws might impact performance by up to 30 per cent, but Intel has now denied this, saying that any impact would be minimal, and would mitigate itself over time.

In a separate press release, Intel revealed that "extensive testing" has revealed that the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft have seen "little to no performance impact" after installing the latest updates. 

"Intel continues to believe that the performance impact of these updates is highly workload-dependent and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time," the release added.

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Michael Moore
Michael Moore is News and Features Editor working across both ITProPortal and TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a technology journalist for more than five years, including spells at one of the UK's leading national newspapers. He is interested in hearing about all the latest news and developments across the Business IT world, and how companies are using new technology to help push forward their work and make their customer's lives easier.