Faced with reports that a “major” security flaw has been discovered in millions of Intel processors sold over the past decade, Intel today responded to the claims, framing the issue as security exploits affecting “many different vendors’ processors” and requiring an “industry-wide approach to resolve this issue promptly and constructively.” Due to the nature of the exploits, OS kernel-level patches are apparently needed, and in some cases are expected to noticeably diminish performance of many computers worldwide.

While Intel did not offer specifics on the exploitation of its chips, prior media reports claimed that the exploits allow insecure apps to access “secure” portions of a computer’s memory, including areas where passwords and other private content are stored. An exploit could allow rogue JavaScript code running in a web browser to see supposedly protected information, compromising the computer and its user.

Intel’s response concedes that the exploits “have the potential to improperly gather sensitive data from computing devices that are operating as designed,” but notes that the company “believes these exploits do not have the potential to corrupt, modify or delete data,” if that provides anyone with any degree of comfort. The response notes that “Intel and other vendors had planned to disclose this issue next week when more software and firmware updates will be available,” but rushed the statement to address “current inaccurate media reports.”

Despite Intel’s statement on shared exposure, researchers have said that the exploits impact…