First Intel, now AMD also faces multiple class-action suits over Spectre attacks

Customers accuse the chip maker of charging premium prices for a faulty product.

Video: Meltdown-Spectre attack variants discovered

Intel rival AMD is also facing a number of class-action lawsuits over how it's responded to the Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws.

As The Register reports, four class-action complaints have been filed against the chip maker seeking damages on behalf of customers and investors.

The suits follow a warning from AMD in late January that warned investors that it is "also subject to claims related to the recently disclosed side-channel exploits, such as Spectre and Meltdown, and may face claims or litigation for future vulnerabilities".

Intel revealed last week that it now faced 32 class-action lawsuits over its handling of the Meltdown and Spectre issues and three additional lawsuits over alleged insider trading.

AMD chips aren't affected by the Meltdown attack but, like Arm and Intel, its processors have the same design flaws in its use of speculative execution that enable the Spectre attacks.

Three of the four cases represent customers who'd bought AMD processors. The complaints note that AMD continued to market its processors as high-performance chips despite knowing that this level of performance was unattainable without exposing users to the Spectre attack, and that mitigations would slow down performance.

"Plaintiff and members of the Class would not have purchased or leased -- or would have paid substantially less for -- AMD processors (or devices containing AMD processors) had they known of the Spectre defect and the reduction in processing performance associated with efforts necessary to mitigate the substantial security risks presented by the Spectre defect," reads one complaint.

The shareholder complaint seeks damages on behalf of anyone who bought AMD shares in the year leading to January 11, 2018, the date AMD admitted its processors were vulnerable to both variants of the Spectre attacks and its share price fell by 0.99 percent. Following the first media reports of the flaws AMD suggested it wasn't vulnerable at all.

Another of the customer complaints calls out AMD's marketing for the high-performance Rizen Threadripper 1950X and 1920 processors which were launched in July and August 2017.

AMD said they delivered "uncompromising performance". Google's Project Zero researcher Jan Horn is said to have told AMD about the flaws in early June 2017.

"Despite its knowledge of the Spectre Defect, AMD continued to sell its processors to unknowing customers at prices much higher than what customers would have paid had they known about the Spectre Defect and its threat to critical security features as well as on the processing speeds of the devices they purchased," the complaint reads.

Two of the law firms have also filed class-action lawsuits against Intel, similarly alleging it is profiting from products that it knows are defective and don't perform as advertised.

Previous and related coverage

Intel's new Spectre fix: Skylake, Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake chips get stable microcode

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Meltdown-Spectre: Now the class action suits against Intel are starting to mount up

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Meltdown-Spectre flaws: We've found new attack variants, say researchers

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Linux Meltdown patch: 'Up to 800 percent CPU overhead', Netflix tests show

The performance impact of Meltdown patches makes it essential to move systems to Linux 4.14.

Spectre reboot problems: Now Intel replaces its buggy fix for Skylake PCs

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Windows emergency patch: Microsoft's new update kills off Intel's Spectre fix

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26% of organizations haven't yet received Windows Meltdown and Spectre patchesTech Republic

Roughly a week after the update was released, many machines still lack the fix for the critical CPU vulnerabilities.

Bad news: A Spectre-like flaw will probably happen again CNET

Our devices may never truly be secure, says the CEO of the company that designs the heart of most mobile chips.