Intel has recently said that the timing between the disclosure of a serious security flaw that affects nearly all of its CPUs and CEO Bryan Krzanich’s recent $39 million stock sale is purely “coincidental”.
However, the company’s recent efforts to downplay the news about the security flaws and Krzanich’s move can only make people more concerned about how bad the situation really is.
One should take into account that the CEO sold the maximum amount of stock he could sell after security researchers informed the company about the CPU security flaw, but before the media learned about it.
An Intel spokesperson told reporters that the recent sale had nothing to do with the scandal. Instead, the company claims, Krzanich sold the shares under a 10b5-1 plan which was supposed to shield him from future insider trading accusations. Such plans allow company employees to sale a determined amount of stock at specific times.
Intel Could Face Federal Scrutiny
The Intel CEO came up with the plan one month before he unloaded the shares, but after the company learned about the exploits. The company underlined that the timing is not evidence of wrongdoing.
Nevertheless, the SEC might not buy the explanation and launch an inquiry, especially when taking into account that the sale’s value is off the charts – $39 million. If a probe is started, Intel’s image will surely be affected.
The news about the security flaw sank the company’s shares to the lowest level in eight months. An SEC probe would do even more damage as investors will lose confidence in a rapid comeback.
Cybersecurity experts agree that the recently discovered exploits – Spectre and Meltdown – are quite serious and a fix will not be easy to come up with.
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