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New Spectre / Meltdown variants found

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Researchers at Microsoft and Google have found new variants of the Spectre and Meltdown chip flaws, the companies confirmed (opens in new tab) this Tuesday. However, given that the original variants were mostly patched, the risk of new variants causing serious harm is pretty low.

The newest chip problem is called Speculative Store Bypass, or Variant 4. It affects AMD’s, Intel’s and ARM’s chips. However, web browser patches that were issued earlier have fixed the problem in advance.

The Meltdown and Spectre flaws were discovered earlier this year and have shaken the entire computing industry. It was said that they allowed hackers to read passwords and other sensitive data from the victims’ machines.

Virtually all computers were affected, and it has prompted all of the major chip manufacturers to try and patch the problem as soon as possible. ARM, AMD, Intel, Qualcomm, IBM, those are just some of the companies that rushed to get a fix out as soon as possible. However, in some instances, patches caused more problems than they solved.

For some users, computers and mobile devices were bricked after the patch, getting stuck in an endless reboot loop. In other instances, the performance of the chip was severely reduced, rendering the machine almost useless.

Class action lawsuits also started popping up. Now, however, it seems as both Spectre and Meltdown are almost eradicated.

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Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.