By now you’ve likely heard about the major security flaws Meltdown and Spectre. Last year, security researchers discovered that the vulnerabilities are affecting chips made by Intel, AMD and ARM. The flaw could affect virtually every computer released worldwide over the last 20 years, including personal computers, laptops, cloud servers and mobile devices.
How do Meltdown and Spectre put you at risk?
Meltdown breaks the isolation between user applications and the operating system. If a cyber criminal exploits this vulnerability, they could access a system’s memory and any sensitive information ‒ such as passwords, encryption keys and personal data ‒ stored on the system.
Spectre, on the other hand, breaks the isolation between different applications. This allows hackers to trick otherwise problem-free applications into revealing private data.
Image courtesy of Daniel Miessler
What can you do?
The best tack is to remain calm and ensure you’ve installed all available updates for your systems. Apple, Google and Microsoft are actively working on patches for their respective devices and operating systems. Some systems are automatically updated, while other fixes must be applied manually.