Spectre and Meltdown Explained

If you’ve tuned into the news over the past few days, you have probably heard about Spectre and Meltdown, the two mega vulnerabilities which have affected virtually every computer (yes Mac’s included) manufactured within the past 20 years.  But what are Spectre and Meltdown? And more importantly, how can you protect yourself?

In a Nutshell

Spectre and Meltdown are actually two separate vulnerabilities which exploit a flaw in how computers process memory while running applications. Spectre could be used by hackers to trick an otherwise secure app into leaking information, while Meltdown can expose your passwords and other encrypted data.  What makes these vulnerabilities so unique is that they are caused by a flaw in the physical hardware of devices.

Who’s Affected?

Spectre and Meltdown effect virtually every computer, smart phone, and tablet manufactured within the past 20 years, including devices running:

– Android

– Chrome

– macOS / OSX / iOS

– Microsoft Windows

What Can I Do?

The best advice is to keep your devices updated. Microsoft, Apple, and Google, have all released patches which are meant to address the vulnerabilities caused by Spectre and Meltdown.

Specifically be sure to update your:

1) Operating System (i.e. Windows, OSX, Android)

2) Browsers (i.e. Edge, Firefox, Chrome)

Don’t forget to update your mobile phones and tablets as well.

A Long Term Solution

Since Spectre and Meltdown are rooted within a flaw in the physical hardware, a long term solution has to be developed at the manufacturing level. In the meantime, keeping your devices up to date with the latest patches, should mitigate most concerns for the majority of users.

We Can Help!

Let the IT experts at Digital Strategy Associates LLC update your device and perform a full security audit.  We serve both residential and commercial clients.  Visit digitalstrategyllc.com for details.

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