Plaintiffs in a proposed class of consumers suing Intel over its “Meltdown” and “Spectre” flaws are urging the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate five lawsuits in California’s Northern District.
The plaintiffs allege that Intel’s security patch for the Meltdown and Spectre flaws, which potentially allow hackers to access the contents of computer systems and smartphones, slows computer processing speeds.
According to Law 360, two plaintiffs filed a putative class action against Intel in California’s Northern District within a day that news of the Intel microprocessor vulnerabilities broke. Those initial lawsuits were followed by three additional class actions that have since been filed in Indiana, Oregon, and New York.
The class of consumers wants the JPML to centralize the lawsuits in Northern California because Intel and most witnesses are based in that area.
“Transfer of the pending actions to the Northern District of California will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation,” four of the plaintiffs who were first to file lawsuits argued.
Researchers say that Meltdown, a flaw that affects the communication between applications and the operating system, affects nearly every Intel central processing unit (CPU) made since 1995, with the exception of Itanium and Atom brand chips made for large business systems and netbook computers, respectively.
Meltdown removes the barrier that prevents sensitive information stored in the operating system from being exposed to applications, potentially allowing hackers to gain access to personal data stored on the operating system.
Spectre is a flaw that hackers can use as a bridge between separate applications. Malicious programs can potentially exploit this flaw and use one application to steal data from other, unrelated programs.
Both Meltdown and Spectre are present in the CPU hardware, not in the operating system software or any other software. The Meltdown flaw affects mostly Intel processors but Spectre affects processors made by Intel, AMD, and ARM.