Security flaws can be big, small, and sometimes just downright curious.

One that emerged at a conference last week concerns Intel’s Pentium chip, including all its near and distant derivatives (i.e everything current).

It turns out that the chip enters a special mode (PowerPoint file) whenever it gets too hot or encounters an electrical condition that might cause the motherboard problems. According to a researcher who works for the French government, this causes the chip to freeze and store its current state, entering a recovery mode.

Attackers could, in theory (that word again), hijack this moment of vulnerability, invading RAM as the chip starts to run through it recovery setup, gaining God-like admin privileges.

The chip nerds scoff at the possibility that the entire stock of PCs (including an ever-rising number of Jobs-boxes) might be vulnerable to something as fundamental as this, but hold on a minute. The security flaw to end all security flaws will be just something like this – technical, unexpected, slightly far-fetched. I’m not a chip nerd so I will suspend judgement.