Not sure if it would be appropriate to define this as a zero day vulnerability, but Intel, a world-leader in chipset manufacture, suffers from a major design flaw that is currently sending Microsoft and Linux kernel developers scrambling to fix it.
To fix this massive security flaw, the Intel chipset will require an update, but the proposed update (solution) will likely slow down your PC (and Mac) to snail speeds. Experts say they don’t know just yet the extent of the slow down yet, once the PCs (and Macs) receive the update. Some guess you will experience a drop in speed by up to 30%.
What exactly is the problem?
Ironically, there is not much information flowing from Intel neither from developers on Windows and Linux Kernel. However, judging from all the hyper-activities of changing the Linux Kernel that is currently taking place, the security flaw must be huge. Good thing, changes made on the Linux Kernel is available to the public for scrutiny.
Microsoft is also believed to be currently engaged in vigorously changing Windows, though secretly as the platform is not open source. Nonetheless, users with the Insider Preview builds are experiencing more than usual rapid updates inflow.
Apple must also make some changes in macOS, given the problem lies with the Intel CPUs themselves that they are using in some Macs.
What could be happening…?
Computer programs run with different levels of security permissions, and the Operating System kernel (Windows kernel or Linux kernel for example) have has the highest level of permission. The Operating System kernel call the shots if you will!
On the other hand, desktop program have a limited permission, and they are strictly restricted on what they can do. The operating system kernel uses your computer’s chip features to enforce some of these restriction. That is because it is easier to execute the restrictions using hardware, rather than software.
It looks like Intel messed up somewhere, and the hardware supposed to be helping the kernel enforce the restrictions is not working as intended. That means there are some desktop programs with fewer permissions but could sneak into places they were never designed to go; by that I mean see things they are not supposed to see.
To fix that problem, the kernel restrictions will need a software reinforcement on top of the hardware reinforcement. This fix will come in the form of the aforementioned patches.
Worst case scenario
So why does your computer have to run slow?
The experts saying adding software restrictions on top of the hardware restriction will take a toll on your speed. Now that hardware restriction (Intel chips) have been discovered are not up to the task, there is little option but to introduce software restriction and slow down your computer.
How about AMD hardware?
If your computer is running on an AMD chip, you are safe. You will not be needing the extra software patch and your computer will run smoothly as usual.