Intel vice president Stephen Smith says the chip giant is moving forward with a "comprehensive" threat mitigation plan that includes operating system and firmware updates that will be made available in the next "few weeks" in the wake of what is being referred to as Meltdown and Spectre microprocessor security holes.
"We have been working to put together a combination of operating system updates on the broadly used operating systems and some firmware updates that we developed that are specific to the configuration and operation of our processor," said Smith in a conference call with analysts on Wednesday night.
"That has all been developed with industry partners, tested with industry partners, working with OS vendors and with OEMs. We have been working at this for some time such that we'll be ready beginning in the next few days to start the deployment of the mitigations. It will probably take a few weeks before the mitigations we have in mind will all be available to customers."
Smith said Intel has observed the security issues as what he called a "proof of concept to show what the type of attack is but we have not observed any active deployment of the exploit in the real world of computing."
Smith's comments came after Intel was hit on Wednesday by media reports of security issues affecting Intel PC and server microprocessors. The security threat sent Intel shares tumbling, wiping out US$12.36 billion in market valuation from US$219.26 billion on 2 January to US$206.90 billion on 4 January.
Intel said Thursday that it is "rapidly issuing updates for all types of Intel-based computer systems — including personal computers and servers — that render those systems immune from both exploits (referred to as “Spectre” and “Meltdown”) reported by Google Project Zero."
Intel, in fact, said it has already issued updates for the majority of processors introduced in the last five years. Furthermore, the company said by the end of next week it "expects to have issued updates for more than 90 percent of processor products introduced within the past five years."
Intel said the system updates are being made available by system manufacturers, operating system providers and others. The company said "many operating system vendors, public cloud service providers, device manufacturers and others have indicated that they have already updated their products and services."
Intel encouraged 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."