A major security flaw has surfaced that’s thought to affect all Intel microprocessors since at least 2011, some ARM processors and, according to Intel, perhaps those of others. Unusually, the exploit, called Meltdown, takes advantage of the processors’ hardware rather than a software flaw, so it circumvents security schemes built into major operating systems.
Makers of those operating systems are racing to roll out a fix, according to The Register, which first reported the effort Tuesday. The operating system redo will almost certainly lead to performance reductions in some systems during certain uses. But the fact that there’s a fix at all is largely due to security researchers at the Graz University of Technology, in Austria, who were unaware of the vulnerability until last month.