Major hardware flaws make computers, smartphones a security risk

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Critical hardware flaws revealed this week are putting billions of computers and smartphones at risk, and Singapore's cyber security authority has urged all users to apply available security software fixes immediately.

Issuing the alert yesterday, the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team (SingCert) said: "The vulnerabilities enable attackers to steal any data processed by the computer."

This includes confidential information such as passwords, which could allow them to compromise computers or entire server networks, it added.

SingCert is a unit of Singapore's Cyber Security Agency, which coordinates the nation's response to cyberthreats and attacks. So far, it has not received any reports of attacks due to the two critical flaws, dubbed Meltdown and Spectre.


Meltdown affects computers that use Intel chips, while Spectre affects computers and smartphones built on Advanced Micro Devices and ARM processors.

SingCert's advisory follows the release on Wednesday by global researchers of the full details of these two critical flaws in modern computer chips.

Between them, they subject almost every computing device to snooping and data thefts.

Although billions of computers and devices are vulnerable, security fixes are already being rolled out.

It is not known if hackers have abused the flaws, first discovered by the researchers separately last year.