Intel faces dozen class-action lawsuits over chip flaws

Revelations about security vulnerabilities in Intel's processors have triggered a flood of class-action lawsuits. However, rival AMD has stayed out of the legal crosshairs.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich at CES 2017.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich at CES 2017.

SANTA CLARA, CA: At least 12 class action lawsuits have been filed against Intel after security vulnerabilities were revealed in its processors early this month.

After three class action lawsuits were reportedly filed separately on January 4, nine additional suits have been filed regarding a "fundamental design flaw" in Intel processors.

The bulk of complaints were filed in northern California, but two were filed in New York and one in Illinois.

Researchers found a pair of chip flaws, known as Meltdown and Spectre, which affect virtually every computer and smartphone in the world and could leave them vulnerable to hacking.

The revelations triggered class action lawsuits as consumers found out their devices could be affected, said Mark Rifkin, a partner at Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz, which has been retained to pursue a class action lawsuit against Intel. The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

While Intel rolls out fixes, the Wolf Haldenstein suit pointed out that the proposed software update for Meltdown would drag down performance by as much as 30%, and no solution has been published for Spectre.

"In short, defendant has not been able to offer an effective repair to its customers," the suit claims.

"Anyone who bought a chip, or a computer with a chip that had this defect, is entitled to be compensated for the difference between what they thought they were getting and what they got," Rifkin said.

Meanwhile, media outlets are comparing the embattled chipmaker with its main competitor, Advanced Micro Devices. However, no class action suits against AMD could be found during a PACER search.

An Intel representative said the firm doesn't comment on pending litigation.

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