Intel told Chinese companies about chip flaws before letting USA government know

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Engadget reports that CPU manufacturer Intel warned a number of customers including Chinese firms such as Alibaba and Lenovo about the "Meltdown" bug that left millions of CPU's vulnerable worldwide before they warned the us government.

Microsoft has also said that the likelihood of people using the Spectre variant 2 attack is unlikely and that "when appropriate, reenable the mitigation against CVE-2017-5715 when Intel reports that this unpredictable system behaviour has been resolved for your device".

That "behavior described" Microsoft talks about is the reboot and potential data corruption issues.

Intel had confirmed two security flaws - and - in its chips that were vulnerable to hacking.

If the ignominy of having to deal with a design flaw of their chips isn't enough, Intel is now in the midst of another controversy that revolves around whom it contacted first to reveal the design flaw. It's available only from the Microsoft Update Catalog.

Jake Williams, head of the security company Rendition Infosec and former National Security Agency (NSA) employee, told the Journal that it is a "near certainty" the Chinese government knew about the flaws from the Intel correspondence with Chinese tech companies, as Beijing keeps tabs on such communications.

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Intel is working on developing a new microcode update to address the Spectre vulnerability that doesn't cause the same instability.

Update KB4078130 was delivered in haste to reverse the system instability that Intel's Spectre variant 2 (CVE 2017-5715 Branch Target Injection) could cause. Many different generations of Intel chips were suffering such problems, including its latest processors, codenamed Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Skylake, Kaby Lake, Broadwell and Haswell.

Intel CEO later allayed fears of any data breach.

This is a major problem for Intel in terms of PR, but so far investors don't seem to be spooked. Installing this new Windows update will leave your PC unprotected against this Spectre variant, though you may not really have a choice if you did encounter reboot issues (or worse) after installing recent firmware updates from Intel.

In such a situation, it is OK for a company to reach out to customers first so that they're able to develop patches and mitigate security concerns as quickly as possible before the news goes public. Intel had itself warned last week that the buggy firmware updates could result in data loss.