These questions by the U.S. lawmakers underscores the fact that the U.S. Congress is sensitive to these critical vulnerabilities which can be exploited by state backed hackers to gain access to virtually any modern computing device.
A Democratic U.S. lawmaker has requested a briefing on the recently disclosed critical vulnerabilities, Meltdown and Spectre, that hackers can exploit to steal vital information from the majority of mobile devices, from chipmaker Intel Corp as well as two other microchip makers.
“I am looking to better understand the nature of these critical vulnerabilities, the danger they pose to consumers, and what steps your companies plan to take to protect consumers,” wrote Jerry McNerney, who represents California, to the chief executives of Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, (AMD) and Softbank-owned Arm Holdings.
“The security of our customers’ systems and data is a top priority for Intel,“ said Intel. “We share Congressman McNerney’s interest in these important issues and will continue to engage with a variety of Congressional and Executive Branch officials to address how the industry can best respond.”
“Arm appreciates Congressman McNerney’s long record of work on cybersecurity issues, has responded to his office to discuss next steps, and looks forward to a dialogue on our mutual goal of creating more secure devices,” said Arm in a statement.
AMD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The request from the Democrat is the first response from the U.S. Congress following the disclosures by security researchers, earlier this month, which hackers can use to steal passwords, encryption keys on the vast majority of cloud based servers, smartphones, tablets and computers.
McNerney, a member of the Commerce Committee and House Energy, has asked the three chipmakers to explain the scope of vulnerabilities, Spectre and Meltdown, their time frame for understanding the vulnerabilities, how consumers are affected and whether the flaws have been exploited, among other questions.