Intel CEO talks security fixes, self-driving cars at Vegas gadget show

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich opened the annual CES gadget show in Las Vegas

Intel has big plans to steer toward new business in self-driving cars, virtual reality and other cutting-edge technologies. But first it has to pull out of a skid caused by a serious security flaw in its processor chips, which undergird many of the world’s smartphones and personal computers.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich opened his keynote talk Monday night at the annual CES gadget show in Las Vegas by addressing the hard-to-fix flaws disclosed by security researchers last week. At an event known for its technological optimism, it was an unusually sober and high-profile reminder of the information security and privacy dangers lurking beneath many of the tech industry’s gee-whiz wonders.

Some researchers have argued that the flaws reflect a fundamental hardware defect that can’t be fixed short of a recall. But Intel has pushed back against that idea, arguing that the problems can be “mitigated” by software or firmware upgrades. Companies from Microsoft to Apple have announced efforts to patch the vulnerabilities.

And Krzanich promised fixes in the coming week to 90 per cent of the processors Intel has made in the past five years, consistent with an earlier statement from the company . He added that updates for the remainder of those recent processors should follow by the end of January. Krzanich did not address the company’s plans for older chips.

To date, he said, Intel has seen no sign that anyone has stolen data by exploiting the two vulnerabilities, known as Meltdown and Spectre. The problems were disclosed last week by Google’s Project Zero security team and other researchers. Krzanich commended the “remarkable” collaboration among tech companies to address what he called an “industry-wide” problem.

While Meltdown is believed to primarily affect processors built by Intel, Spectre also affects many of the company’s rivals. Flaws affecting the processor chips also endanger the PCs, internet browsers, cloud computing services and other technology that rely on them. Both bugs could be exploited through what’s known as a side-channel attack that could extract passwords and other sensitive data from the chip’s memory.

Krzanich himself has been in the spotlight over the security issue after it was revealed that he had sold about $39 million in his own Intel stocks and options in late November, before the vulnerability was publicly known. Intel says it was notified about the bugs in June.

The company didn’t respond to inquiries about the timing of Krzanich’s divestments, but a spokeswoman said it was unrelated to the security flaws.

During his presentation Monday, Krzanich also launched into a flashy and wide-ranging celebration of the way Intel and its partners are harnessing data for futuristic innovations, from 3D entertainment partnerships with Paramount Pictures to virtual-reality collaborations with the 2018 Winter Olympics and a new breakthrough in so-called quantum computing.

READ: 2 Canadian universities selected for North American self-driving car competition

A self-driving Ford Fusion rolled onto the stage of the casino theatre where Krzanich gave his talk. It’s the first of a 100-vehicle test fleet run by Mobileeye, the Israel-based software company that Intel bought for $15 billion last year. Mobileeye processes the information cars “see” from cameras and sensors.

A flying taxi — the German-built Volocopter — later lifted from the stage. Then came the drones, in a musical performance that Krzanich said would mark a Guinness record for the “world’s first 100-drone indoor lightshow without GPS.”

Matt O’Brien, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Update: Trans-Canada Highway reopened to single-lane traffic

The accident took place at approximately 1 p.m.

Tracing their family tree

Sisters searching for Summerland connection

City warms to solar power

New Shuswap solar society receives enthusiastic response to alternative form of energy.

Police say gun-toting robbers used fake police lights to pull over victims

Information wanted on North Shuswap robbery, police impersonation, burnt vehicle, motorhome theft.

Suspected overdose, poisoning calls jump in Okanagan

BCEHS statistics show calls rose last year in Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon

Crook’s Corner

Arts and entertainment highlights this week across the Okanagan

UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

Dave Murray, convicted this past fall, hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life.

Shots fired in Kamloops

Kamloops RCMP are investigating a report of shots fired and a possible explosion at a trailer court

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to Canadian teen

A 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection with an online threat against a high school

B.C. driver fined $1,500 for accident involving senior’s death

A Princeton man riding the scooter died of complications

Vaping device overheats, burns down home on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo Fire Rescue says units could cause fires in other homes and even aircraft

LinkedIn: Top 25 places to work in Canada

LinkedIn has compiled a list of the top companies to work for in 2018

Province warning rabbit owners after confirmed cases of deadly virus

Testing confirmed feral rabbits in Nanaimo and Delta had died from rabbit hemorrhagic disease

Painting of B.C. lake by Winston Churchill sells for $87,000

Churchill had painted the work in 1929 during visit to an area near Field

Most Read