Intel chip vulnerability could give hackers access to sensitive information

May 15, 2019, 5:05AM EDT

Intel has disclosed a fault in its software chips that, if exploited, could allow hackers to access sensitive information directly from processors, TechCrunch writes. According to Intel, nearly every chip dating back to 2011 has the design flaw, apart from AMD and ARM processors. The vulnerability could affect PCs, laptops, and cloud.

While no attacks have been reported, researchers admit that hackers may not have left any trace on targetted software.

According to Intel, the new data-leaking bugs that put chips at risk was reported to them just a month ago. The company has designed patches that should help stop data from being accessed; similarly, Apple, Microsoft and Google Chrome have also released patches to prevent attacks.

If carried out, a “ZombieLoad” attack could exploit existing flaws to steal data rather than creating malware. The name of the attack comes from "zombie load"- a section of data that is unable to be processed properly, forcing the processor to seek help from its microcode so that the device doesn’t crash. This makes “data to bleed across [] boundary walls,” going outside the app it belongs to. Therefore, any data processed by the chip can be used in a ZombieLoad attack.