Intel bug may affect Internet PCs

Intel held an emergency meeting on Friday to investigate a new bug in the Pentium processor that may cause networked computers to crash.

The bug, known as FO or FOOF, was initially reported on the BugTraq UNIX security mailing list on Friday. However the company is yet to issue a statement about the bug or even confirm it exists. The bug allegedly allows malicious programs to be run on networked computers with open access and to cause these systems to crash. This could include Web servers and other networked systems.

Developers on the mailing list have suggested that this bug could potentially be more harmful than the infamous floating point bug a few years ago. Smaller Internet providers that use Pentium-based systems may be most vulnerable, as the bug would allow malicious use of CGI scripts on users Web pages.

Rumours that Intel already knew about the bug have been denied by the company, which claims it first heard about it on Friday. The bug is based around four lines of machine code that would have to be inserted into a program. It is not expected to affect commercially available software.

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