A flaw in hyper-threading processor technology has been uncovered that can allow attackers to crack encrypted information.
Hyper-threading allows one physical processor to be used as two virtual ones, increasing the speed of many applications.
But, while single processors empty their Level One cache after every action, the twin processor system can allow data transfer between the two.
Canadian student Colin Percival discovered the flaw last October and, after researching it extensively, contacted the affected parties, including Intel, privately.
He presented the results of his research at BSDCan, a Canadian conference for BSD developers.
"For the past three months, I've spent almost all my time working on this security flaw, investigating how serious it was, contacting all the affected vendors, and explaining how this should be fixed," said Percival on his website.
"I simply haven't had time to go out and get a job, and I decided that making sure that this issue was properly reported and fixed was far more important than earning some money."
The flaw affects any processors that use the technology but can be blocked by disabling hyperthreading. Intel has said it is working on a fix for the problemp>
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