Tech firms are working to fix two bugs that could allow hackers to steal personal data from computer systems.
Google researchers said one of the “serious security flaws”, dubbed “Spectre”, was found in chips made by Intel, AMD and ARM.
The other, known as “Meltdown” affects Intel-made chips alone.
The industry has been aware of the problem for months and hoped to solve it before details were made public.
The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said there was no evidence that the vulnerability had been exploited.
According to the researchers who found the bugs, chips dating as far back as 1995 have been affected.
Some fixes, in the form of software updates, have been introduced or will be available in the next few days, said Intel, which provides chips to about 80% of desktop computers and 90% of laptops worldwide.