What should you know to handle a cybersecurity crisis?

Technology companies routinely come across cybersecurity risks, but it’s far rarer when these turn into a fully-blown crisis. American chip maker Intel is the most recent example of a security vulnerability that’s become a global catastrophe, when it identified flaws with its processors.

The vulnerability, named Meltdown and Spectre, affects the hardware of Intel’s x86 microprocessors as well as some developed by ARM. Through it, cyber crooks can get access to and compromise these processors. The fault essentially means a dodgy process can read virtually all types of kernel memory.

This devastating flaw affects a range of systems, including devices running on Windows, Linux, macOS and iOS. A plethora of cloud systems and servers have also been affected. As a result, tech giants such as Apple and Microsoft have had to release bug fixes to ensure hackers can’t get into devices.

There's a potential back-door built into every PC in your organization, but perhaps not for much longer. Will the open hardware race curb worrying chip vulnerability?

Consumers, organizations and governments around the world have shared their concerns about the incident, but Intel seems to be working to fix the flaw. The company has responded by not only providing security updates, but by also announcing plans to set up a specialist group to improve hardware security. The question is, what should other firms do in the wake of such incidents?

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Nicholas Fearn

Nicholas is a technology journalist from the Welsh valleys. His work has been featured on Engadget, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, TechRadar, The Next Web, Forbes, Computer Weekly, Computing, Mail Online, The Telegraph and many other media outlets. In addition, he edits Tech Dragons, a publication covering STEM in Wales.

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