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January 12, 2018

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Nvidia updates software, says chips not hit by flaws

NVIDIA Corp is updating the software for its graphics processors in response to the Spectre security threat, but its chief executive said on Wednesday its chips were not subject to the same risks as those from Intel and other companies.

“Our GPUs are immune,” Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said, referring to graphics processing units, the chipmaker’s key product.

“They are not affected by these security issues.”

Huang’s comments illustrate how technology sellers from cloud-based data center providers to anti-virus companies are scrambling to guard against flaws disclosed last week in chips made by Intel and others.

Security researchers revealed vulnerabilities, dubbed Meltdown and Spectre, that could let hackers steal passwords or encryption keys from central processing units made by Intel and rivals. CPUs are used on personal computers, smartphones, servers and other devices.

The security patches unveiled by Nvidia relate to software drivers that let its chips work with operating systems like Windows. While Nvidia said its GPUs are not flawed, it was updating its drivers because they interact with potentially vulnerable CPUs.

It said it had no reason to believe the drivers were troubled by the second flaw, dubbed Meltdown.

Intel published data that showed the recent security updates did not have significant performance impact.

The data included three generations of processor platforms running Microsoft Corp’s Windows 10 and Windows 7 operating systems, Intel Vice President Navin Shenoy said.

While the full extent of devices affected by the flaws is not yet fully known, Cisco Systems has said it has identified 18 vulnerable products and is looking for problems in nearly 30 other products.



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