Technology giant Intel acknowledged a vulnerability that could allow hackers to access stored data on most modern computer systems, but said the security risks were minimal.
The computer chipmaker issued a statement amid a flurry of concerns voiced after researchers discovered what was described as a "flaw" which could allow privately-stored data in computers and networks to be leaked. Intel labeled as "incorrect" the reports describing a "bug" or "flaw" unique to its products.
"Based on the analysis to date, many types of computing devices - with many different vendors' processors and operating systems - are susceptible to these exploits," Intel said. "Intel believes these exploits do not have the potential to corrupt, modify or delete data."
The computer chip maker said it was working with rivals AMD and ARM Holdings - which design systems for mobile devices - and with the makers of computer operating software "to develop an industry-wide approach to resolve this issue promptly and constructively."
Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich stated that "basically all modern processers across all applications" use this process known as "access memory," which was exploited by Google researchers and kept confidential as companies work on remedies.
"The story is not that there is a flaw in Intel chips," said Jack Gold, an independent technology analyst. The companies were working on remedies after "some researchers found a way to use existing architecture and get into protected areas of computer memory and read some of the data," Gold said, adding that this is a function of all modern computer architecture.
Some security researchers said any fix which would need to be handled by software could slow down computer systems, possibly by 30 percent or more. Intel's statement said these concerns too were exaggerated.
"Contrary to some reports, any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time," the company said.