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Intel's CEO says no attacks from major flaws

But the chip maker urges everyone to update their computers

Reuters

Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO, holds up Intel’s newest drone, the Shooting Star Mini as he speaks at the Intel Keynote address at CES in Las Vegas on Monday.
Reuters Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO, holds up Intel’s newest drone, the Shooting Star Mini as he speaks at the Intel Keynote address at CES in Las Vegas on Monday.
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LAS VEGAS — Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich said Monday night that the computer chip giant has heard of no attacks based on two critical security flaws revealed last week in its chips — called Spectre and Meltdown — that affect nearly every computer and smartphone on the planet.

Krzanich spent the first few minutes of his opening keynote speech at the CES tech industry trade show in Las Vegas promising that his company will work quickly to address the flaws, which theoretically allow hackers to access all a computer’s data.

“Security is job No. 1 for Intel and our industry,” Krzanich said.

He also urged everyone to download software updates as soon as possible.

He said 90 percent of products Intel has released in the past five years will receive updates by the end of the week. The rest, he said, will come by the end of January.

Security researchers revealed last week that the way Intel’s chips are built leaves computers susceptible to data theft. Chips from other major manufacturers, including Arm and AMD, also are affected by one of the flaws.

But Intel has borne the brunt of the backlash because its chips are affected by both issues. The company has said it will not issue a recall.

Krzanich’s comments at CES — the technology trade show formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show — gave him the opportunity to address attendees from across the international tech industry.

He also took the opportunity to praise other tech giants, including Apple, Google and Microsoft, for acting quickly to update their products to protect people against the flaws.

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The bulk of the keynote speech focused on company announcements, including Intel’s push around drones, artificial intelligence, connected cars and commuter helicopters. It closed with an indoor light show comprising 100 miniature drones.

Krzanich did not address the personal criticism he has faced for selling $24 million in stock in November, roughly six months after Intel has said it knew about the flaw. In an interview with CNET, he has said that the sales were part of a set plan for selling stock, and that he had little control over the sale.

Since the disclosure, Intel’s shares have dropped sharply, down roughly four percent since the disclosure.

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