HW News - TSMC Building 3nm Fab, RGB Malware Exploits

By Published December 24, 2018 at 7:55 pm

Hardware news for this week keeps things relatively lighthearted, focusing on uplifting stories about Charter (Spectrum) owing $170 million dollars in settlement fees for fraudulent marketing, RGB software being susceptible to malware, and NAND prices dropping further in 2019. Aside from that, coverage highlights the advancement of TSMC's 3nm fabrication plant (in addition to an upcoming 5nm plant) and further departure of AMD higher-ups on the Radeon group.

Show notes below the embedded video:


NAND Prices Could Lower 10% in 2019

We’ve already seen sharp price drops in SSDs this year, but DRAMeXchange predicts the prices could continue to decline in 2019. Thanks to bit output being higher than anticipate in 2018, manufactures have seen steady 64-layer yields amidst sluggish demand. This has led the market into an oversupply, and that oversupply is expected to intensify in 1Q19.

DRAMeXchange expects the client SSD market to fall by as much as 10%, as demand grows more sluggish, even among the increasing SSD adoption rate. DRAMeXchange cites the ongoing China-US trade situation, Intel CPU shortage, weak notebook shipments, and slow sales of new iPhones as key issues affecting NAND prices and output.  

Source: https://www.dramexchange.com/WeeklyResearch/Post/2/5171.html

AMD SVP & GM Departs

We’ve been covering the AMD brain drain, as we call it anyway, for most of the year now. Last week, AMD lost Damien Triolet to Intel. Now, Mike Rayfield has announced his retirement from the company. Rayfield served as the Senior Vice President and General Manager of RTG. Rayfield headed up the group after Raja Koduri left for Intel.

AMD released the following statement:

“Mike is retiring at the end of the year. He has made the decision to spend more time with his family and pursue his personal passions. David Wang will be interim lead for Radeon Technologies Group while we finalize search for a new business leader.”

So, unlike others, it seems Rayfield hasn’t been poached by Intel. Tom’s Hardware reports that Rayfield is not actively seeking employment.

Source: https://www.tomshardware.com/news/amd-radeon-svp-gm-mike-rayfield-retires,38252.html

Charter Slapped with $174.2 Million Settlement by New York

Some time back, we reported on Charter, who operates as Spectrum in New York, being booted from the state of New York for fraudulent claims and poor customer service. In an ongoing lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney’s General Office, Spectrum has agreed to pay a $174.2 million settlement -- a record for any ISP in terms of customer payouts.

The settlement will see Charter pay $75 to $150 in refunds to customers, in addition to many customers receiving free premium channels and streaming services. Charter will also have to reframe the way they market their services, such as marketing their services as “wired”, and they will have to perform routine speed tests.

Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood had this to say in the statement:

“Not only is this the largest-ever consumer payout by an internet service provider, returning tens of millions of dollars to New Yorkers who were ripped off and providing additional streaming and premium channels as restitution – but it also sets a new standard for how internet providers should fairly market their services.”   

Charter was penalized for, quote, “defrauding internet subscribers,” and will be paying out $62.5 million directly to affected customers, with the difference being split into mandated free services for customers. Charter was under requirement to bring higher speed internet to the state of New York and failed to do so, but used fraudulent marketing to promote those unprovided services. The Attorney General stated, “fulfill your promises, or pay the price,” noting that this is a “wakeup call” for ISPs.

The restitution for customers is required for the following infractions:

1 - Leasing an inadequate modem;

2 - Leasing an inadequate wireless router;

3 - Subscribing to a Time Warner Cable legacy speed plan of 100Mbps or higher

Source: https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-underwood-announces-record-1742-million-consumer-fraud-settlement-charter

TSMC to Build Facility for 3nm Semiconductors

As Taiwan News reports, TSMC has been cleared through Taiwan's EPA to begin construction on a new facility that will primarily focus on 3nm fabrication, with the $19 billion project slated to begin in 2022. The 3nm fab will occupy the same vicinity as TSMC’s 5nm site, currently under construction, which is expected to be up and running around 2020.

Allegedly, in order to swing the Taiwan EPA on the project, TSMC had to vow to make the site renewable. TSMC states that the new fab will use 20% renewable energy and 50% recycled water.  

Source: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3600724


RGB Software Opens Attack Vectors

Also in the news is Logitech, ASUS and Gigabyte, but perhaps not for what we’d normally expect. Recently, vulnerabilities have been disclosed that were found in Logitech “Options” software, and in drivers from ASUS and Gigabyte that impact their respective RGB software.

First reported by Google’s Project Zero, a critical flaw in Logitech Options allows hackers to gain remote access through the opening of an unauthenticated websocket port. The vulnerability was reported to Logitech back in September, and Logitech haven't implemented a fix until now, after the vulnerability was made public.

Additionally, SecureAuth found vulnerabilities in seven drivers affecting ASUS and Gigabyte motherboard software. The vulnerabilities, according to SecureAuth research, allow attackers to gain escalated permissions, take control of the system, and run non-trusted code. According to the report, communication with ASUS and Gigabyte has been less than fruitful, and many of the vulnerabilities remain unaddressed.     

Source: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/asus-gigabyte-drivers-contain-code-execution-vulnerabilities-pocs-galore/


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Editorial: Eric Hamilton
Host: Steve Burke
Video: Keegan Gallick

Last modified on December 25, 2018 at 7:55 pm

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