House chair hits reports of Intel notifying Chinese firms about chip vulnerabilities before US

House chair hits reports of Intel notifying Chinese firms about chip vulnerabilities before US
© Greg Nash

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenEx-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Ex-Rep. John Shimkus joins lobbying firm Lobbying world MORE (R-Ore.) said Monday that reports about Intel notifying Chinese companies about major chip vulnerabilities before the U.S. government were “troublesome.”

"If true, I think The Wall Street Journal reporting is very disturbing about what may have happened," Walden said Monday on CNBC.

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Walden's remarks come after the Journal reported that Intel had notified a small group of companies — including Chinese firms — about Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities which, if exploited, allow hackers to access sensitive information stored on computers, phones and servers using Intel, AMD and ARM chips.

Intel and other affected companies had learned of the vulnerabilities in the summer, but not made them public or notified the government until January after researchers brought the issue to the attention of the media.

Walden explained that many Chinese companies have direct ties to the Chinese government and that letting them know could pose national security risks.

"If a foreign government knew, did they do something? Or could they have exploited this?" he said.

Walden last week sent letters to Intel, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, AMD and ARM asking for more answers on Spectre and Meltdown, and why they kept the vulnerabilities under wraps for months.