Call us anytime, toll-free: (888) 808-5977

NEWSOME LAW BLOG

News & Commentary

Reported Intel Chip Flaw and Slowdown

Understanding Your Legal Rights and Remedies

William C. Ourand, Esq.

2018 began with a bombshell report that instantly ignited a firestorm throughout the tech community.  According to The Register,[1] all Intel chips from the past decade may have critical security flaws that could allow unauthorized access to passwords and other sensitive information.   And to make matters worse, it appears that these flaws may only be fixable through a fundamental processing change that could slow computers using these chips down by up to 30 percent.

Intel chips are the dominant force in the marketplace.  Chances are, if you purchased one or more computers in the past 10 years, at least one of those computers was equipped with an Intel chip that may be affected by the reported flaw.  Thankfully, consumer protection statutes and other laws may afford you the right to monetary compensation and other relief.

What Is The Reported Problem?

Although the investigation remains ongoing, early reports indicate that the problem is a chip-level security flaw that may allow unauthorized access to information within the chips’ kernels. The kernels contain the most sensitive information in your computer—including passwords, cached hard drive files, and encryption keys, to name a few examples.

Ordinarily, information stored in the kernel memory is hidden and inaccessible by software programs and users.  This information must be recalled thousands of times each day, however, as the computer performs various tasks.  To do so, the processer must switch between kernel mode and user mode each time, to ensure that the user does not gain access to the information in the kernel memory.

Early reports suggest that Intel x86 chips produced over the past decade may have a flawed “speculative” method to expedite code processing by guessing what code is coming up next and then executing that code—“potentially without performing security checks.”[2]  If this is so, then it may be possible for hackers or malicious software applications to gain access to the kernel memory—and the sensitive information contained in that memory—by taking advantage of the possibly flawed speculative process.

This problem has been commonly referred to as “Meltdown,” and is thought to be specific to Intel at this time.  A related concern, “Spectre,” has also been identified, but not as much is known on that issue at this time.   It is believed, however, that Spectre may have an even further reach, including all chips made by Intel as well as rivals AMD and ARM.

No Good Fix?

The problem presented by the reported Intel chip bug is particularly concerning because there appears to be no good fix.  Several media outlets have reported that Microsoft, Apple, and others will be rolling out patches to address the potential security flaw.  Unfortunately, the patches reportedly slow down computer processing speeds—and drastically so—with potential reductions of up to 30 percent in some instances.

As such, it appears that consumers may be forced to choose between leaving their sensitive information potentially susceptible to hackers or malicious programs, or installing one of the upcoming patches that may fundamentally impair their computer’s operation and processing speed.

Who Might Be Affected?

Several sites are reporting that the alleged flaw may affect all Intel chips produced over the past decade.  This is concerning because Intel chips have proliferated the marketplace, and have been installed in computers running Microsoft, Apple, and Linux operating systems.

As a result, if you have purchased one or more computers over the past 10 years, it is highly likely that one of more of those machines was equipped with a potentially defective Intel chip.  This is true regardless of whether the computer was a desktop or a laptop.

Do You Have Any Legal Recourse?

Most states have enacted consumer protection statutes which forbid companies from engaging in unfair and deceptive trade practices.  Case law construing these statutes has further clarified that selling a defective product can constitute a violative practice.  Other potential causes of action include, but are not limited to, breach of warranty, negligence, strict products liability, misrepresentation, and fraud.

Depending on the jurisdiction and applicable law, a consumer pursuing such a case may be entitled to seek a variety of different types of relief, including actual, compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages.  Additionally, the consumer may also request equitable and declaratory relief, including, potentially, a Court Judgment requiring that all affected computers be recalled or replaced.  Finally, the consumer may be able to ask that the Defendant be required to pay for all attorneys’ fees and costs associated with investigating and bringing the action.

If you believe you may have purchased a computer or other device that is potentially affected by the reported Intel chip defect, you should immediately contact an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.  Time is of the essence as there are a variety of deadlines—including, for instance, statutes of limitations and statutes of repose—which may forever bar your case if it is not filed by a certain date.

Our team is available to discuss this matter and answer your questions, at no cost to you, at (888)380-2809; or, if you prefer, you can send me a direct email at Ourand@NewsomeLaw.com.

[1] John Leyden and Chris Williams, Kernel-Memory-Leaking Intel Processor Design Flaw Forces Linxus, Windows Redesign, The Register, available at https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/01/02/intel_cpu_design_flaw/ (Jan. 2, 2018).

[2] Id.

Lessons from Remington – SIG Sauer’s P320

Lessons from Remington – SIG Sauer’s P320

By: Nicholas S. Gurney, Esq. Will ‘drop fire’ concerns over SIG Sauer’s P320 handgun lead to nationwide recall? In early August, retailer Omaha Outdoors shocked the firearm community with a warning: SIG Sauer’s P320 may fire when dropped.[1]  This revelation, hot on the heels of otherwise positive reviews of the popular striker-fired modular handgun platform, […]

Read more

Urgent Warning for Anyone with a Takata Airbag Client!

Urgent Warning for Anyone with a Takata Airbag Client!

Urgent Warning for Anyone with a Takata Airbag Client! Richard Newsome, Esq. Frank Melton, Esq. William C. Ourand, Esq. Right now, certain companies are feverishly working to deny Takata airbag victims their day in Court.  Their method of attack is a “channeling injunction”—a bankruptcy oddity spawned by asbestos litigation.  It is imperative for everyone representing […]

Read more

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Cases

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Cases

Carbon monoxide (“CO”) poisoning is a major health problem in the United States, resulting in thousands of injuries—including permanent brain damage—and hundreds of deaths each year. Many, if not most, of these injuries and deaths could be avoided by responsible industry behavior—including by using reasonable safeguards, like CO detectors, and by properly designing and manufacturing […]

Read more

Suing Lyft and Uber: Are There Any Viable Causes of Action Left?

Suing Lyft and Uber: Are There Any Viable Causes of Action Left?

This past session, the Florida Legislature passed, and the Governor promptly signed into law, House Bill 221. This bill constitutes a statewide overhaul of the laws governing transportation network companies (“TNCs”) like Uber and Lyft. Unfortunately, the legislation has horrible ramifications for consumers who are injured by a TNC driver, as it effectively eliminates certain […]

Read more

BREAKING NEWS: Florida Supreme Court Rules Med Mal Caps Unconstitutional

BREAKING NEWS: Florida Supreme Court Rules Med Mal Caps Unconstitutional

Yesterday, the Florida Supreme Court issued a landmark decision, North Broward Hospital District v. Kalitan, which effectively abolishes the arbitrary caps on medical malpractice damages the Legislature enacted back in 2003. Historically, Floridians injured by medical negligence were stuck with incredibly limited awards for non-economic damages, thanks to the efforts and lobbying prowess of various […]

Read more

Asleep at the Wheel: How Trial Lawyers’ Heads are Buried in the Ground with Respect to Self-Driving Cars and Transportation Network Companies

Asleep at the Wheel: How Trial Lawyers’ Heads are Buried in the Ground with Respect to Self-Driving Cars and Transportation Network Companies

By Richard Newsome, Esq. & William C. Ourand, Esq. Self-driving cars and transportation network companies will soon converge and bring about a paradigm shift of tectonic plate proportions for the auto industry, auto insurance industry, and lawyers who handle auto crash cases.  The industry is already preparing for the upcoming revolution, and is taking calculated political […]

Read more

Florida Constitution Revision Commission Holds First Public Hearing Next Week in Orlando

Florida Constitution Revision Commission Holds First Public Hearing Next Week in Orlando

The 2017-2018 Florida Constitution Revision Commission will hold its first public hearing next week in Orlando at the UCF Fairwinds Alumni Center starting at 5:00 pm. This public hearing was announced on Monday during the Commission’s organizational session. Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission – or “CRC” – was first created in 1968. The CRC is comprised […]

Read more

Newsome Melton Auto Recall Round Up

Newsome Melton Auto Recall Round Up

Defective Seatbelts; Hyundai Recalls 978,000 Sonatas             Seatbelts found in nearly one-million Hyundai vehicles can allegedly unfasten in a crash leading to a massive recall. The announcement affects the Hyundai Sonata sold under model years 2011 to 2014 and the Sonata hybrid from model years 2011 to 2015. Hyundai told authorities that during assembly the […]

Read more

Free Case Evaluation

Contact one of our legal experts and get a prompt review of your case.

  • Name
  • Phone
  • State
  • Case Description

All fields are required.

Over $584.6 million dollars recovered

No fees until you are compensated

Strength, Experience and Compassion

Follow us to get the latest updates of our doings

201 Orange Ave #1500
Orlando, FL 32801

(407) 648-5977

Call us toll-free, anytime:
(888) 808-5977