Intel is one of the largest semiconductor chip manufacturers in the world. Its products are featured in a wide array of computer products, from computer motherboards, to network interface controllers.
Yet it was discovered in 2016 that Intel was manufacturing a defective product: the Puma 6 Modem Chipset.
It is important to know what the defect is and whether you are affected by it in order to keep yourself and your home network safe. This is what you need to know.
What Is A Chipset?
To begin with, let’s do a quick review over what a chipset is. A chipset is data flow management system that controls how data is moved through the processor, memory, and peripherals on a motherboard. The chipset is integral in the overall performance of the device that it is controlling because it controls all of the communication within a modem or other electronic devices.
The Puma 6 Problem
In December of 2016, it was discovered that modems that contained that Intel Puma 6 chipset, which is thousands upon thousands of modems, were vulnerable to outside attack. It was found that if an outsider found out your public IP address, they had the ability to get into your modem and interfere with your internet connection by either kicking you offline or slowing your connection down to a crawl.
While it was found with a Puma 6 chipset, the vulnerability existed with the Puma 5 and the Puma 7 chipsets as well, it just was not drawn to public attention until 2016. A class action lawsuit was drawn up between Intel and the modem vendor Arris as a result, because Arris was using the unreliable Puma chipsets.
Once the problem was pointed out, Intel did do something to try to correct their problem. They updated the affected modems’ firmware to block outside interference.
In a statement, Intel wrote, “Firmware in the Intel Puma 5, 6, and 7 Series might experience resource depletion or timeout, which allows a network attacker to create a denial of service via crafted network traffic. Intel is working with Internet service providers and manufacturers for retail devices to help deliver to affected devices the updated firmware which mitigates these issues.”
Despite the firmware correction, there were more concerns that popped up regarding the Puma chipset series. It was later found that the Puma 7 modems were likely to crash and need to be rebooted often, causing a loss of data and signal. As a result, Puma chipsets were no longer trusted.
Do Not Buy List
Because the Puma 6 chipsets were inside of so many different devices, it is not always easy to know whether your modem has a Puma 6 chipset. Here is the Do Not Buy List of modems that contain the Intel Puma chipsets for both the Puma 6 and Puma 7.
Hitron (CGNM) CGNM-2252
What To Look For
To make sure that you are not buying a modem with a Puma 6 chipset, you can start by looking at the packaging of the modem in question. Most modems will have a logo on it that says “Intel inside.” That should be your first indication that you need to avoid that specific modem.
Not every modem will have an Intel logo on the box, however. That is why it is still important to cross reference any modem that you are considering buying with the list that we have provided. There are other chipset manufacturers out there that do not have the same problems that have been found with the Intel Puma chipsets, so make sure to do your research in order to be sure.
What To Do If You Own A Modem With Puma 6 Or 7
If you already own a modem that has a Puma 6 or 7 chipset, you can look more into the class action lawsuit and have it investigated further.
Otherwise, the best thing that you can do right now is to go buy a new modem, without a Puma 6 or Puma 7 chipset.