Apple has become the latest tech giant to be hit by a class-action lawsuit in response to the Spectre and Meltdown CPU security debacle, which has quickly become one of the biggest security vulnerabilities ever uncovered.
The class-action complaint, which sprawls over a 17-page document, was filed earlier this month in a San Jose district court in California.
The filing accuses the Apple of failing to keep the ARM-based processors in iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs secure, as previously claimed. It also accuses the Cupertino firm of withholding vital info on the Spectre flaws from customers for months, selling products from the arrival of the A6 chip in the iPhone 5 way back in 2012 while knowing it was vulnerable to the CPU flaws which allow for side-channel attacks.
Apple isn't the only offender to be hit by a potentially-damaging class-action lawsuit. Chip maker AMD is also being sued over claims that it artificially inflated its stock price by keeping quiet about how the Spectre flaws affected its chips.
A filing to a US court in the northern district of California made by Pomerantz LLP on behalf of shareholder Doyun Kim claims that AMD's initial reaction to the flaw, which saw it declare that Spectre posed "near zero risk" to its chips before admitting that its processors were, in fact, affected by both variants of the vulnerability, resulted in AMD's stock prices plummeting.
"As a result of defendants' wrongful acts and omissions, and the precipitous decline in the market value of the company's common shares, plaintiff and other class members have suffered significant losses and damages," the filing says.
It comes as no surprise that Intel is in the same boat, too. The chip giant is also fending off multiple class-action suits, such as one regarding the Intel-powered Macs Apple sells, which are also affected by Meltdown and Spectre.
But the news of the lawsuits comes as no surprise and the Meltdown and Spectre flaws shouldn't be taken lightly. It has come to light that they are present in the vast majority of modern processors, could allow hackers to break into the devices and steal sensitive data.
However, no data breaches have been reported as yet, even though the vulnerabilities exist in the majority of processors dating from 1995. The flaw wasn't reported until June last year, despite Intel knowing about it since before then.
The lawyers representing various Californian comanies' claimants think there will be more cases coming to light in the coming months, describing it as "one of the largest security flaws ever facing the American public". They are urging Intel, for example, to fix the problem and to offer those affected compensation for any losses that have occurred.
However, for this to happen, businesses and individuals would have to provide solid evidence that they have been adversely affected by the flaws.
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