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Report : Intel Warned Chinese Companies Of Chip Flaws Before U.S. Government

In initial disclosures about critical security flaws discovered in its processors, Intel Corp. (INTC) notified a small group of customers, including Chinese technology companies, but left out the U.S. government, the Wall Street Journal reported citing people familiar with the matter.

The decision raises concerns, security researchers reportedly said, as it potentially could have allowed information about the chip flaws, dubbed Spectre and Meltdown, to fall into the hands of the Chinese government before being publicly divulged. There is no evidence any information was misused, the researchers reportedly said.

Weeks after word of the flaws first surfaced, Intel's choices about whom would receive advance warning continue to ripple through the security and tech industries.

The flaws were first identified in June by a member of Google's Project Zero security team. Intel had planned to make the discovery public on January 9—people working to protect systems from hacks often hold off on announcements while fixes are devised—but sped up its timetable when the news became widely known on January 3, a day after U.K. website the Register wrote about the flaws.

The Journal reported that Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd. was among the large tech companies, including Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc. and ARM Holdings in the U.K., that were notified of the flaws beforehand.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd also was notified ahead of time, the report said.

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