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Intel will have Meltdown and Spectre fixes for 90 percent of recent products within a week

Intel will have Meltdown and Spectre fixes for 90 percent of recent products within a week


The elephant in the keynote

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Technology Experts Gather At The Annual Web Summit Conference
Photo by Horacio Villalobos - Corbis/Getty Images

Speaking today at Intel’s big CES keynote, CEO Brian Krzanich addressed the biggest issue Intel faces today: the security and speed issues surrounding Meltdown and Spectre. “Want to thank the industry for coming together ... to address the recent security research findings reported as Meltdown and Spectre,” Krzanich said, calling the response to the issues a “collaboration among so many companies.”

He promised that “for our processors and products introduced in the past five years, Intel expects to issue updates for more than 90 percent within a week, and the remaining by the end of January.” As for the impact that those updates will cause to performance, Krzanich stuck to Intel’s line that “we believe the performance impact of these updates is highly workload dependent,” though that “some workloads may experience a larger impact that others, so we’ll continue working with the industry to minimize the impact on those workloads over time.”

He said that there were no known instances of the vulnerabilities actually being exploited. “As of now, we have not received any information that these exploits have been used to obtain customer data, he said. “We’re working tirelessly on these issues to ensure it stays that way.”

The Spectre and Meltdown news happened at a particularly awkward time for Intel, landing just a week before its time in the big spotlight. The kind of production necessary to make a CES keynote means that nearly everything we’re seeing from the company tonight was planned well before this news hit, but it’s so clearly the central focus of everybody’s attention, there was no way Krzanich could avoid talking about it.

Krzanich’s tone was markedly different from Intel’s first reaction to the news, which could be characterized as defensive at best. His emphasis on collaboration tonight makes sense; the company isn’t quite as much on its heels as it was last week, when for a brief time it seemed that Intel’s products were uniquely vulnerable. That turned out not to be the case for all of the vulnerabilities that were uncovered, and so Intel’s emphasis on industry-wide collaboration is a clever way to sound like it’s making nice, but also to point out that it’s not just Intel’s problem.

To pivot to the rest of the keynote, Krzanich said, “If you’ll indulge me, I’d love nothing more than to simply put my phone away and take this evening to truly celebrate innovation with you.”