Intel is one of the biggest names in the world when it comes to processors. Along with other tech juggernauts like AMD and Nvidia, they’ve put CPUs in countless desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices around the world.
While Intel’s chips have been praised for their intelligent architecture, quickness, and reliability, not everything has been positive. Some recent vulnerabilities discovered could tie Intel to what may be the biggest cyber-security vulnerability ever discovered.
It was recently announced that a flaw in the vast majority of the world’s processors, including those made by Intel, could allow hackers to access devices with shocking ease. The thought of such a breach has big implications – it could affect users across the world, derail businesses, and result in widespread data theft.
Spectre and Meltdown, the names given to the vulnerabilities, do not have full-fledged solutions yet. There are only workarounds at the moment, meaning the threat could still escalate depending on who wins the race between hackers and security experts.
The fact that the world has to deal with this problem is concerning enough, but the actions of Intel’s CEO have also raised concerns. Brian Krazanick sold $24 million in company stock during November, as the result of a plan put in place the month before.
But months before that, Intel had received word about the security vulnerabilities. This paints the picture that the company head was planning to get out fast before the situation could blow up. But according to some, this could result in serious legal trouble.
While traders do have a lot of freedom on how they can manage their shares under rules set by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). But the SEC also has specific terms about how sellers may respond when they possess information that may influence stocks.
This makes it important to know when exactly the CEO knew about the Intel chip vulnerabilities and whether the news influenced his decision.
Robert Bartlett, a law professor from California-Berkley’s School of Law, said: “You lose a lot of protections if you amend a [trading] plan when in possession of material non-public information.”
SEC analysts and experts have also noted that the curious timeline of events could have investigators delving deeper, trying to discover exactly how the facts line up and how the news could’ve impacted the massive stock sale.
This isn’t the first time a security breach caused management at a major company to get in trouble. After the massive Equifax data leak last year, the company faced scrutiny over whether their security measures were good enough and whether their management was qualified. One member of management was found to have no security credentials, and their college degree was in music theory. The manager stepped aside shortly after the incident.
Intel’s situation is a bit different in both the scope of the problem and how management has responded. But if an investigation reveals the CEO had the news beforehand, it could lead to resignations, lawsuits, and more.