Intel faces 32 lawsuits over recently-disclosed Meltdown and Spectre CPU security flaws

Intel said in a regulatory filing it was not able to estimate the potential losses that may arise out of the lawsuits.

Intel Corp said on Friday shareholders and customers had filed 32 class action lawsuits against the company in connection with recently-disclosed security flaws in its microchips.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Most of the lawsuits - 30 - are customer class action cases that claim that users were harmed by Intel’s “actions and/or omissions” related to the flaws, which could allow hackers to steal data from computers.

Intel said in a regulatory filing it was not able to estimate the potential losses that may arise out of the lawsuits.

Security researchers at the start of January publicized two flaws, dubbed Spectre and Meltdown, that affected nearly every modern computing device containing chips from Intel, Advanced Micro Devices Inc and ARM Holdings.

The companies have issued fixes but some patches slowed down computers, leading sector analysts to say producers could potentially face suits from clients and consumers claiming damages because their devices did not work as they should.

The company said the remaining two suits were securities class actions, where the plaintiffs allege that Intel and some of its officers violated securities laws by making statements about products or its internal controls that were later revealed to have been false or misleading.

The company’s filing also listed three individual Intel shareholders who had filed actions against members of Intel’s board and other managers, alleging that they failed their duties to Intel by failing to take action in relation to alleged insider trading.

It did not specify what allegations of wrongdoing the suit dealt with.

Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich sold 889,879 shares in the company on 29 November as per a trading plan adopted on 30 October, making roughly $39 million from the sale, well before the details of the flaw were made public.

Bloomberg reported last month that although Intel says Krzanich’s sales were part of a pre-arranged stock plan, securities lawyers believed the larger-than-usual transaction could be examined by the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC).

Krzanich said last month that Google researchers told Intel of the flaws “a while ago”.

Google says it informed the affected companies about the Spectre flaw on 1 June, 2017 and reported the Meltdown flaw after the first flaw but before 28 July, 2017.

The two securities-related class action suits were filed by individuals who claim to represent classes of buyers of Intel’s stock between 27 July last year and 4 January.

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