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AMD CEO on chip security flaws: ‘We're absolutely all over this’

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AMD CEO Lisa Su told Yahoo Finance that the Austin, Texas-based computer and graphics chip company is quickly working to resolve and address a recently-discovered security flaw that affects AMD (AMD) computer chips.

“Security is incredibly important to us as a processor company, and we’re absolutely all over this,” Su told Yahoo Finance this week at CES 2018 in Las Vegas.

Su’s comments arrive on the heels of news last week that three groups of researchers, including a group at Google (GOOG, GOOGL), discovered two major security flaws — dubbed Meltdown and Spectre — which hackers could potentially exploit to get their hands on users’ private data.

AMD CEO Lisa Su tells Yahoo Finance the Austin, Texas company is quickly working towards a solution for the Spectre security flaw.

“To clarify, for Meltdown, AMD is not susceptible,” Su said. “We don’t have a susceptibility to that variant. But with Spectre, AMD is susceptible.”

Indeed, all AMD chips are susceptible to Spectre, however the company clarified in a blog post published on Thursday that its AMD Radeon graphics processors are not. The company’s stock dipped nearly 3.8% on Tuesday after some users with older AMD chips in their computers complained that a Microsoft (MSFT) Windows software patch caused those users’ computers to freeze up and become unusable. AMD expects Microsoft to resume rolling out software patches for those older AMD processors by next week.

“We will have some micro-code and some updates with our software partners to ensure that [Spectre] Variant 2 is taken care of,” Su told Yahoo Finance. “We want to make sure these patches are rolled out as smoothly as possible. We did have an issue with some of the older processors with Microsoft and their patch. We’re working on that in real-time, and we expect that to be cleared up very shortly.”

AMD’s stock has largely recovered since Tuesday, likely in part because far fewer of its chips are vulnerable in comparison to Intel. Nearly every Intel (INTC) computer processor made starting in 1995 is vulnerable to both Meltdown and Spectre — a situation Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said, during a CES 2018 keynote, would be addressed within the next week or so.

Intel’s stock has plunged more than 7% this year since the news first hit, in part because its chips are vulnerable to both security flaws but also due to its relative lack of transparency with the public.

Meltdown and Spectre represent two of the largest, most fundamental flaws in computer processor designs in the past 20 years. In the short-term, computers with Intel chips are more likely to suffer from performance issues, leading to compromised servers for cloud platforms, however, it’s still unclear what the longer-term, more far-flung ramifications are for computer users overall. But for AMD and Intel, moving quickly to address these security flaws is vital not only for its stock but more importantly, in maintaining trust with computer owners around the world concerned for their data security and privacy.

JP Mangalindan is the Chief Tech Correspondent for Yahoo Finance covering the intersection of tech and business. Email story tips and musings to Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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