Published in PC Hardware

Intel sued 32 times over flaws

by on19 February 2018

Spectre and Meltdown attracts lawyers like flies

Chipzilla has said that shareholders and customers had filed 32 class action lawsuits against the company in connection with recently-disclosed security flaws in its microchips.

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

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

For those who came in late, security researchers at the start of January publicised two flaws, dubbed Spectre and Meltdown, that affected nearly every modern computing device containing chips from Intel, AMD 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 about alleged insider trading.

Another question is Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich's actions selling 889,879 shares before the information was made public. The deal went through on November 29 as per a trading plan adopted on October 30, making roughly $39 million from the sale.

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 June 1, 2017, and reported the Meltdown flaw after the first flaw but before July 28, 2017.

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

Last modified on 19 February 2018
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