The flaws, called Meltdown and Spectre, exist within virtually all modern processors and could allow hackers to steal sensitive data although no data breaches have been reported yet. While Spectre affects processors made by a variety of firms, Meltdown appears to primarily affect Intel processors made since 1995.
Three separate class-action lawsuits have been filed by plaintiffs in California, Oregon and Indiana seeking compensation, with more expected. All three cite the security vulnerability and Intel’s delay in public disclosure from when it was first notified by researchers of the flaws in June. Intel said in a statement it “can confirm it is aware of the class actions but as these proceedings are ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment.”
The plaintiffs also cite the alleged computer slowdown that will be caused by the fixes needed to address the security concerns, which Intel disputes is a major factor. “Contrary to some reports, any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time,” Intel said in an earlier statement.
“The security vulnerability revealed by these reports suggests that this may be one of the largest security flaws ever facing the American public,” said Bill Doyle of Doyle APC, one of the lawyers representing plaintiffs Steven Garcia and Anthony Stachowiak who filed suit in the northern district of California. “It is imperative that Intel act swiftly to fix the problem and ensure consumers are fully compensated for all losses suffered as a result of their actions.”
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