Lawyers at Beasley Allen, along with several other law firms, represent a proposed class of Plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit filed against Intel Corporation. The suit comes after the corporation admitted to a security flaw in the design of the central processing units (CPUs) used in personal computers, which leaves every personal computer using an Intel CPU vulnerable to hackers. The security vulnerability caused by Intel’s CPUs affects potentially millions of consumers and all computers using the processors manufactured since at least 2004. The computer industry refers to this major security flaw or vulnerability as the “Meltdown.”
On Jan. 4, 2018, Plaintiffs Richard Reis and Zachary Finer filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of all consumers who have purchased Intel CPUs. Richard Reis and Zachary Finer are represented by Beasley Allen lawyers Dee Miles, who is head of the firm’s Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section of the firm, and Leslie Pescia, a lawyer in the Section.
Intel manufactures some of the fastest CPUs in the world, which are used in the most popular personal computers, including cellphones, sold on the market. The complaint filed by Beasley Allen alleges Intel touted the speed of its CPUs in advertising and on the packaging for the processors. However, to manufacture faster CPUs, Intel took shortcuts that led to the Meltdown security flaw in the defectively designed CPUs. The Meltdown flaw allows hackers unauthorized access to sensitive and private information contained on the memories of personal computers, including usernames, passwords and other personal information. The complaint alleges the security flaw in Intel’s CPUs puts potentially millions of people at risk of fraud, having their identities stolen, and having malware installed on their personal computers.
Jann Horn, a security analyst for the Google-run security research group named Google Project Zero, discovered the security defect in Intel’s CPUs in June 2017. Despite knowing about the security flaw in June 2017, Intel continued to market and to sell CPUs containing the security flaw. The Meltdown security defect was not publicly announced until early January 2018. At the same time, Intel announced that it was working to develop a “patch” – which is a software update – to secure personal computers against the Meltdown.
However, the patch will drastically slow the performance of the CPUs, because correcting the security flaw caused by Intel’s shortcuts in designing the CPUs is essentially correcting the exact feature that made the CPUs fast in the first place. These patches are estimated to slow computers with Intel processers down by as much as 30 percent, resulting in Intel CPUs no longer being the fastest on the market.
The complaint filed by Beasley Allen lawyers alleges various causes of action against Intel based on its deceptively marketed CPUs containing the design defect. These causes of action include breach of warranty, unjust enrichment, and various state’s deceptive trade practices acts and consumer protection statutes. The complaint alleges consumers with personal computers containing Intel’s CPUs are being deprived the benefit of the CPUs for which they bargained and are left without any choice but to accept the patch to safeguard their personal information – which comes at the expense of the fast performance Intel marketed. Further, the complaint alleges that consumers would not have purchased Intel’s CPUs or would have paid substantially less for the CPUs if Intel would have made them aware of the security flaw and the necessity of a patch.
If you would like to speak with a lawyer regarding Intel’s “Meltdown” security flaw defect and deceptive marketing, contact Dee Miles at 800-898-2034 or by email at Dee.Miles@beasleyallen.com or Leslie Pescia at Leslie.Pescia@beasleyallen.com.
Sources: Law360 and Reis v. Intel Corp., No. 5:18-cv-00074-SVK (N.D. Cal. Jan. 4, 2018).