On January 3rd, two major vulnerabilities were found in Intel, Arm, and AMD computer chips – Spectre and Meltdown. The details of these security vulnerabilities are complicated, but essentially, they allow attackers to access data on your CPU (central processing unit) that is not intended to be accessed. This data may include passwords, keys, and other sensitive data that could allow hackers to steal your information or identity.
How do I know if I am affected?
Simple answer: you most certainly are vulnerable, but not likely to be a victim.
The reason why these vulnerabilities are a huge issue is that almost all personal computers and servers built since 1995 contain an Intel or AMD chipset with the vulnerable chip architecture. If you have a PC or Mac with an Intel or AMD CPU (denoted by an “Intel Inside” sticker or an AMD sticker located somewhere on your machine) you are very likely to be susceptible to the vulnerabilities.
The good news is that Intel, Apple, and Microsoft are currently working on rolling out patches to affected users. In addition, security researchers claim that there have not been any known cyber-attacks exploiting these vulnerabilities.
How can I protect myself?
Be sure to keep your operating system and all applications up-to-date! If you have a Mac, Apple has rolled out a series of security patches, which, they claim, has fixed the vulnerability. If you have a Windows PC, make sure to check Windows Updates regularly to assure that your computer is optimally secure. If you have either, it is imperative that you keep all applications updated, including web browsers, email clients, etc. Lastly, be leery of suspicious emails. Phishing emails are still the #1 way for attackers to gain access to a computer. So please no clicking suspicious links!
For more information about the vulnerabilities, visit: https://www.cnet.com/news/spectre-meltdown-intel-arm-amd-processor-cpu-chip-flaw-vulnerability-faq/
For more news around the world of cybersecurity, visit: https://sites.up.edu/cybersecurity