Intel faces at least 32 lawsuits as a result of the Meltdown and Spectre flaws
Intel is facing at least 32 lawsuits as a result of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in its processors. In an SEC filing last week, Intel confirmed that 30 customer class action lawsuits and two securities class action lawsuits had been filed.
Intel has been the hardest hit by Meltdown, but Spectre is a near-universal flaw in modern processors from Intel, AMD, and ARM. Furthermore, while Meltdown can be patched via software, the fixes come with certain performance costs.
On the other hand, Spectre is far harder to fix and requires a complete hardware redesign in the next generation of chips to be resolved (although software mitigations do still exist).
In its SEC filing, Intel says that the customer class action lawsuits are “seeking monetary damages and equitable relief”, while the two securities lawsuits allege that Intel violated securities laws by making misleading statements even after it was notified of the flaws.
There are also allegations of insider trading, as three shareholders have filed shareholder derivative actions that appear to stem from concerns over Intel CEO Brian Krzanich’s stock sales. Krzanich sold a larger-than-usual chunk of the company stock in the fourth quarter of last year, prompting questions about the timing of the sale as it happened after the discovery of the vulnerabilities.
Intel has struggled in the aftermath of the security revelations. Its initial response lacked transparency, and it was Microsoft that ended up detailing the extent of the performance hit caused by the patches. In addition, its early updates also caused system instabilities and reboots on certain machines, which led to Microsoft issuing an emergency patch to disable them.
The fallout isn’t contained yet though, and the chipmaker expects further lawsuits in the future. It also isn't able to estimate the potential losses from these lawsuits.