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Meltdown, Spectre Aftermath: Intel Forms Cybersecurity Group

Intel’s Leslie Culbertson
Leslie Culbertson

Intel plans to create an internal cybersecurity group, the Oregonian reported. The news comes after Intel last week released details about Meltdown and Spectre, microprocessor bugs that enable cybercriminals to compromise laptops, PCs, smartphones, tablets and public cloud servers.

Leslie Culbertson, Intel's SVP and director of human resources, will lead the company's cybersecurity group. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich (pictured, top) also has appointed VP Steve Smith and reassigned several company executives to the cybersecurity group, the report said.

Smith, by the way, led last week's analyst briefings about the Meltdown and Spectre issues -- which continue to haunt the technology industry as MSSPs and customers scramble to patch everything from PCs and servers to networking gear and cloud systems.

Meltdown and Spectre: Here's What You Need to Know

Both Meltdown and Spectre have been present in microprocessors created in the past decade, The Register indicated. They allow database applications, JavaScript, web browsers and other administrator and user programs to identify the layout or contents of protected kernel memory areas.

Meltdown and Spectre enable cybercriminals to read the contents of a kernel’s memory that otherwise is hidden from administrator and user processes and programs, according to The Register. Malware and hackers also can use Meltdown and Spectre to exploit other security bugs.

Meltdown and Spectre may cause processors to slow down, The Register reported. However, Intel has denied these claims.

AmazonGoogle and Microsoft have updated their cloud services and other products in response to Meltdown and Spectre. Meanwhile, MSP-centric vendors like Datto are providing guidance as partners prepare to patch the bugs.

Furthermore, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has recommended administrators and users review Vulnerability Note VU#584653Microsoft's Advisory and Mozilla's blog post for additional information and refer to their operating system vendor for appropriate Meltdown and Spectre patches.

IBM CEO Leads Aspen Institute Cybersecurity Group

In addition to the Intel cybersecurity group, international nonprofit think tank The Aspen Institute this month has formed a cybersecurity group to address security vulnerabilities at the national level.

The Aspen Cyber Group is led by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and includes 35 members across academic, government and private sector organizations, according to Axios. This group's priorities include:

  • Collection and sharing of threat intelligence with the National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
  • Delivery of cybersecurity insights to government and industry leaders.
  • Development of cybersecurity curricula to teach organizations how to detect and address cyberattacks.

The Aspen Cyber Group plans to meet several times this year, Axios reported. It also will collaborate with lawmakers and issue reports on various cybersecurity topics.

Dan Kobialka

Dan Kobialka is senior contributing editor, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E. He covers IT security, IT service provider business strategies and partner programs. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University. In his free time, Dan enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football.