What is Meltdown and Spectre and Are You At Risk?

Metdown and SpectreIn 2017, it was discovered that two hardware vulnerabilities affected almost all computers in the world. There were two versions of Spectre and one of Meltdown. Basically, it placed everyone at risk because it could allow a rogue processor to read all the memory on these types of computers, even when having no authorization to do so.

It was also troubling, as the vulnerabilities affected almost every type of popular operating system. These involved vulnerabilities that affected all Intel x86 microprocessors and IBM power processors, plus some ARM-based ones. It also affected a wide range of operating systems, including iOS, macOS, Windows, and Linux, and a wide range of mobile devices, TVs, and anything that utilized similar processors.

In January 2018, these vulnerabilities were announced. Both types share similar but not all types of characteristics. Security analysts have said that these vulnerabilities can be catastrophic and place everyone who has a computer at risk.

In fact, the list of vulnerabilities was so extreme that many people thought they were false at first.

Over the next few weeks, devices and computers that have had the most recent and patched versions of these operating systems are more secure. Windows has undergone firmware and new CPU instructions, and isolated kernel and user mode page tables.

Spectre and Meltdown patches have gone out to every Mac and PC computer user, including affected devices and appliances.

For a basic software workaround it can been reported that computers have slowed down as much as 5 to 30 percent on certain workloads, though computer companies note that during testing this has had little impact, with minimal performance loss. Performance loss will be higher on older computers.

The good news is that hackers have not taken advantage of these vulnerabilities to date, so no exploit of Meltdown or Spectre has been reported.

Further updates that will be rolled out over the next week or so should be coming. If you’re concerned about your personal or your business computers being affected, and whether you’re at risk, you could be.

It’s important to complete all updates on your computers, servers, devices, etc. The best prevention is to promptly update your software and operating system. Avoid unrecognized websites, visit only trusted ones, do not click on any unknown hyperlinks, and do not download files or applications from unknown sources. It’s also recommended that you follow the usual password protocol and continue using your security software to protect against malware.

All affected companies responsible for creating operating systems or products utilizing these systems have committed to solving the Meltdown and Spectre issue, as of January 2018.

Your computers can still be at risk if you haven’t adopted any of the updates or system changes. A Meltdown attack cannot be detected if it is carried out. It’s believed that it can affect more computers than previously thought.

If you’re worried that your business or organization could be affected by a security attack from Meltdown or Spectre, please contact iConnect Technologies today. We can assist you in security updates and upgrades, and recommend the best security protection while Apple and PC computer makers work to fix these faults permanently.

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