A serious security flaw has been discovered affecting millions of Intel computer processors developed in the last decade.
Details of the flaw have not yet been made public but details of the fixes in development point to issues around regular programmes, such as internet browsers, being able access secure parts of the computer's memory and view confidential information such as bank details and passwords.
Intel processors are installed in millions of computers worldwide running every kind of operating system and efforts to fix the security hole may significantly affect performance, reports the Guardian.
Implementing software patches to address the security flaw may slow computers by up to 30 percent when performing some functions.
Independent security expert Graham Cluley told the Guardian that "Modern operating systems rely upon Intel's chips to provide some essential security services - but if a flaw has been found then the operating systems themselves will need to be updated to do the job that they believed Intel's chips were doing properly."
While home computers may suffer a slowdown as the problem is addressed, the security flaw also affects cloud servers, with Amazon, Microsoft and Google all expected to have to fix the bug with patches which may also reduce performance.
In a statement published yesterday, Intel claims that the loophole is not specific to their products and reports of slowdowns during fixes have been exaggerated.
"Based on the analysis to date, many types of computing devices with many different vendors' processors and operating systems are susceptible to these exploits... any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time."
The statement concludes with the tech giant stating:
"Intel believes its products are the most secure in the world and that, with the support of its partners, the current solutions to this issue provide the best possible security for its customers."