Chip bug scandal hits Intel share price

The fallout from the chip bug scandal is already having a knock-on effect on the manufacturers under scrutiny. Intel is the first firm to announce that its share price has fallen as investors worry about the outcome of the chip flaws discovered earlier this week. Intel’s share fell by nearly 2 per cent as investors worry about the potential financial liability and reputational hit from the processor vulnerabilities.

There are reportedly two separate security flaws, known as Meltdown and Spectre affecting chips made by Intel, ARM and AMD. Meltdown affects laptops, desktop computers and internet servers with Intel chips. Meanwhile Spectre affects chips in smartphones, tablets and computers.

The immediate knock-on effect of this is how the patches will impact performance. The initial solution will separate the kernel’s memory from user processes, which sure up the vulnerability, however it could also slow systems down by up to 30 per cent depending on the processor model. For everyday users, it’s possible the patches won’t have much of an impact on everyday usage and gaming frame rates. Additionally, future fixes should have less of an effect on performance.

While almost all PCs and mobile devices are reportedly affected by the flaws, Apple has also said that all Mac and iOS devices are also impacted. In a blogpost, Apple said it had released updates for iOS, the software on its phones and tablets, macOS, which is used by its computers and tvOS for its television products.

“Security researchers have recently uncovered security issues known by two names, Meltdown and Spectre,” it added. “These issues apply to all modern processors and affect nearly all computing devices and operating systems. All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time.

“Since exploiting many of these issues requires a malicious app to be loaded on your Mac or iOS device, we recommend downloading software only from trusted sources such as the app store.”

While Intel has suffered an initial blip, industry analyst Forrest does no expect Intel to suffer in the long run. “What (Intel’s cloud customers) are going to say is, ‘You wronged us, we hate you, but if we can get a discount, we’ll still buy from you,’” a spokesperson for Forrest said.

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