AMD shares surge on report of an Intel chip security flaw

  • A report from The Register saying Intel processors have a security design flaw is moving chip stocks.
  • It says the issue will require a significant security update of Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems to work around it.

A report alleging Intel chips have a security flaw is moving semiconductor stocks.

The British tech website Register reported Tuesday that some Intel processors have a "fundamental design flaw" that will spur a significant security update of Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems to work around it.

Shares of AMD were up 5.2 percent Wednesday, while Intel's stock declined 3.4 percent.

"Programmers are scrambling to overhaul the open-source Linux kernel's virtual memory system," the report said. "Crucially, these updates to both Linux and Windows will incur a performance hit on Intel products."

The Register cited a post from an AMD employee that implied the company's chips are "not affected" by this particular security issue.

The "story backs up what many in the Linux community have been working on for a while now, an undisclosed bug on CPU architectures at the hardware level," Shrout Research's Ryan Shrout wrote in an email. "This vulnerability will affect a tremendous number of machines and is a very valid concern."

"As for it affecting AMD processors or not, high-level developers have been quoted on development forums that the issue only exists on Intel platforms, and that the fix doesn't need to be enabled on AMD hardware," he added.

AMD declined to comment on the report.

Intel released the following statement Wednesday:

"Intel and other technology companies have been made aware of new security research describing software analysis methods that, when used for malicious purposes, have the potential to improperly gather sensitive data from computing devices that are operating as designed. Intel believes these exploits do not have the potential to corrupt, modify or delete data. Recent reports that these exploits are caused by a 'bug' or a 'flaw' and are unique to Intel products are incorrect."

Intel shares rose 27 percent in 2017 versus AMD's stock 9 percent decline.