What is Meltdown and Spectre?
When we think about security vulnerabilities, most of us think about software or email viruses, but rarely do we think about the hardware like the CPU. Now, the CPU hardware itself is in the headlines and it is dubbed Meltdown and Spectre.
What’s the problem?
Spectre breaks the isolation between different applications. Basically, the exploit allows access to the operating system’s sacrosanct kernal memory which the chips use to increase performance. This allows an attacker to exploit the CPU vulnerabilities and expose sensitive data in the protected kernal memory like passwords, personal photos, emails and any other data on your PC.
The Meltdown is a little more serious. According to Google, Meltdown breaks the most fundamental isolation between the user applications and the operating system. This is the problem that operating systems are rushing to fix. This problem affects Intel Processors because of the way that they handle speculative execution which means that many computers will be affected in some way at this time.
What is a kernal?
A kernal is inside the operating system and is a process that facilitates the ways that apps and other functions work on the computer and communicates directly with the hardware. It is like a skeleton key that has access to the entire operating system.
Is my PC at Risk?
YES – According to Google, “effectively every” Intel processor released since 1995 is vulnerable to Meltdown. Every OS system, Desktop, and Laptop are all susceptible.
What Can You Do?
Update Everything! Update your operating system, CPU Firmware, and web browse as soon as possible. Make sure that you are running security software. In order to get attacked, hackers must have access to your PC. Make sure that you close, lock and bolt all doors that the hackers can use to get in…this means only download software and apps from reputable sources to you must have to reduce the risk of a malware infection.
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