AP Explains: Who's affected by computer chip security flaw

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Update:

Technology companies are scrambling to fix serious security flaws affecting computer processors found in many of the world's personal computers and smartphones.

The bugs can be exploited to allow the memory content of a computer to be leaked, potentially exposing stored passwords and other sensitive data.

Researchers discovered the problem last year and disclosed it Wednesday, after word got out through British technology site The Register. Intel and Google say they were planning to disclose the issue next week when fixes will be available.

There's no evidence bad actors have yet exploited the bugs, but companies are working to patch up vulnerabilities to their operating systems and browsers to protect against one of the bugs. But researchers say the other is harder to fix, but it's also harder to exploit.

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Security researchers at Google say they've discovered serious security flaws affecting computer processors built by Intel and other chipmakers.

Google's Project Zero team said Wednesday that the flaw could allow bad actors to gather passwords and other sensitive data from a system's memory.

The tech company disclosed the vulnerability not long after Intel said it's working to patch it. Intel says the average computer user won't experience significant slowdowns as it's fixed.

The chipmaker was forced to disclose the problem Wednesday after a report by British technology site The Register caused Intel's stock to fall.

Both Intel and Google said they were planning to disclose the issue next week when fixes will be available. Google says it also affects other processors and the devices and operating systems running them.

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