Intel faces 3 class-action lawsuits in wake of chip flaws

Three states — California, Oregon and Indiana — have filed class-action lawsuits against Intel after security researchers revealed vulnerabilities in its computer chips last week, according to The Hill.  

The company and other members of the tech community became aware of the chips' bugs, which leave countless computer processors built over the last 10 years vulnerable to malware attacks, in June 2016; yet they failed to publicly disclose the information. Dubbed Meltdown and Spectre, the vulnerabilities affect other firms' chips as well, including those manufactured by AMD, Qualcomm and Arm and Amazon's, Google's and Apple's cloud systems.

The lawsuits highlight Intel's delay in disclosing the two vulnerabilities and allege the patches designed to fix them will cause computers to operate slower, according to The Hill.

Intel addressed the flaws in a Jan.3 statement, writing it is "working closely with many other technology companies, including AMD, Arm Holdings and several operating system vendors, to develop an industry-wide approach to resolve this issue promptly and constructively. Intel has begun providing software and firmware updates to mitigate these exploits." The company added that it planned to publicly discuss the vulnerabilities next week.

The company disputed the lawsuits' claims, noting that "any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time," according to The Hill.

Legal experts expect more consumer lawsuits and lawsuits from companies who were impacted will be filed since the number of computers affected dates back to 1995, The Hill adds.

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