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

Reel Reviews: Fear or love

We say, “Once again, one worth seeing, one not.”

Two people safe after falling through ice

Kelowna Fire Department urges caution around icy waters during warm weather

Missing Kelowna woman sought

RCMP are asking for assistance in locating Christine Olsen-Meissnitzer

Plane lands safely after takeoff issue

An airplane departing Kelowna International Airport had an issue with a landing gear, landed safely

KSS rocks and rolls for 37th straight year

Kelowna secondary students let loose with annual Air Bank competition

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Captain Cal Foote is Rockets’ MVP

The Rockets hand out their annual team awards Sunday at Kelowna Community Theatre

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

Cancer fundraiser takes to Okanagan Lake

Penticton and Naramata joining growing fundraising event

Elke’s Garden Tips: Good time to prepare

Lake Country garden columnist talks about what to do at this time of the year

Letter: Crying fowl over goose cull witness

Kelowna letter-writer says Canada geese come with many issues

Letter: I was born in Kelowna in 1930…

Kelowna letter-writer has some ideas on how things should run nowadays

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read