Qualcomm and chips like it power the majority of smartphones and smartwatches. Such chips are increasingly showing up in cloud data centers. Some of us speculate that Apple will eventually produce a MacBook that runs exclusively on a chip like this. Microsoft already tried it with Surface RT. That failed for reasons unrelated to the chips in question.
Now, it turns out that Google is feverishly working to clean up their data centers due to a hardware problem that could introduce a vicious form of malware. Indeed, the computer security situation is potentially quite precarious. The right triggers can result in Google data centers hosting Gmail and Docs leaking info Equifax style.
The hardware they are using that has this potential issue is the same hardware running Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Amazon.com, and Amazon cloud. It is the same hardware running Facebook sites, Twitter, and many banking sites. Basically, all the hardware of a certain brand used by most large companies has the same flaws Google is working to root out.
Meanwhile, this flaw in all this big company hardware may also exist in everyday laptops. That is unfortunate and a potentially a huge let down. You go to all this trouble to work with computer architecture, assembly language, systems concepts and component specifications and default assumptions only to learn that the machine isn’t what it is billed out to be.
A sea change in hardware would start things anew. Provide a chance at hardware that works fully as advertised. Most importantly, allow the tech community at large (IEEE, universities, and research institutions) to revisit computers from an open specification that also fundamentally addresses security.