New Threats: Meltdown and Spectre

 

You may have seen some news regarding two discovered vulnerabilities in computer systems. These vulnerabilities, known as Meltdown and Spectre, are catastrophic vulnerabilities that can allow an attacker to gain access to every part of a computer. Any passwords, credit card numbers, and any other piece of personal information can potentially be retrieved using these methods. Most regular computers that are 15 years old or newer are affected by at least one of these vulnerabilities.

Spectre became a problem because demand for faster and faster computers has led to the development of processor technology that speculates what the programs on your computer will do next. Meltdown is also a problem because of compromises made to meet the demand for faster computers.

Both of these vulnerabilities affect computers across operating systems, because they lie at the heart of how the computer’s hardware works.  The good news is that there are patches to help reduce the risk of these attacks becoming a problem.

  • Make sure your anti-virus software is up to date. If you don’t have anti-virus software, you may not be able to receive the correct patch for the vulnerability.
  • Next, patch your software. This includes patching your Windows (or other) operating system. To do this you will need to run Windows Updates.
  • If you are able, update the firmware for your motherboard. Your computer manufacturer will often have programs that help do this, or you can go to their website to download firmware updates. However, because of the unique nature of these vulnerabilities, you may see a reduction in performance of up to 20% in older computers. Newer computers may experience a slowdown in the neighborhood of 5% less speed.

At Iler Networking and Computing, we are dedicated to finding out how to secure our client’s computers against the latest threats. We offer anti-virus solutions that are compatible with Windows Updates and also offer managed update solutions so that you never have to worry about installing updates yourself again. If you have any questions regarding these vulnerabilities or would like us to help secure your systems, call us at 440-322-4537 or reach us at support@iler.com.

Sources:

https://www.onmsft.com/news/anti-virus-companies-required-to-make-changes-to-allow-meltdown-spectre-future-windows-updates

http://actusdigital.com/protect-spectre-meltdown/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meltdown_(security_vulnerability)