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Intel hit with 32 lawsuits over security flaws

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(Reuters) — Intel Corp. on Friday said shareholders and customers had filed 32 class action lawsuits against the company in connection with recently disclosed security flaws in its microchips.

Most of the lawsuits — 30 — are customer class action cases that claim that users were harmed by Intel's "actions and/or omissions" related to the flaws, which could allow hackers to steal data from computers.

Intel said in a regulatory filing it was not able to estimate the potential losses that may arise out of the lawsuits.

Security researchers at the start of January publicized two flaws, dubbed Spectre and Meltdown, that affected nearly every modern computing device containing chips from Intel, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and ARM Holdings.

The companies have issued fixes, but some patches slowed down computers, leading sector analysts to say producers could potentially face suits from clients and consumers claiming damages because their devices did not work as they should.

The company said the remaining two suits were securities class actions, where the plaintiffs allege that Intel and some of its officers violated securities laws by making statements about products or its internal controls that were later revealed to have been false or misleading.

The company's filing also listed three individual Intel shareholders who had filed actions against members of Intel's board and other managers, alleging that they failed their duties to Intel by failing to take action in relation to alleged insider trading.

It did not specify what allegations of wrongdoing the suit dealt with.

Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich sold 889,879 shares in the company on Nov. 29 as per a trading plan adopted on Oct. 30, making roughly $39 million from the sale, well before the details of the flaw were made public.

Bloomberg reported last month that although Intel says Mr. Krzanich’s sales were part of a pre-arranged stock plan, securities lawyers believed the larger-than-usual transaction could be examined by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mr. Krzanich said last month that Google Inc. researchers told Intel of the flaws "a while ago."

Google says it informed the affected companies about the Spectre flaw on June 1, 2017, and reported the Meltdown flaw after the first flaw but before July 28, 2017.

The two securities-related class action suits were filed by individuals who claim to represent classes of buyers of Intel's stock between July 27 last year and Jan. 4.