Recent news reports have highlighted computer security vulnerabilities being referred to as Meltdown and Spectre. Computer researchers have found out that the main chip in most modern computers—the CPU—has a hardware bug. It’s really a design flaw in the hardware that has been there for years. This is a big deal because it affects almost every computer in existence including workstations, servers, and some mobile devices.
This hardware bug allows malicious programs to steal data that is being processed in your computer memory. Normally, applications are not able to do that because they are isolated from each other and the operating system. This hardware bug breaks that isolation.
So, if the bad guys are able to get malicious software running on your computer, they can get access to your passwords stored in a password manager or browser, your emails, instant messages and even business-critical documents.
As with most computer vulnerabilities, the best way to stay protected is to keep up to date on security patches for your devices and applications. Because of the pervasiveness of this hardware bug, vendors are still doing research, so some patches are not even available yet. So be extra vigilant with security top of mind and think before you click. In many cases, bad guys get access by tricking you into clicking on a bogus link or document.
If you are interested in learning about user security awareness training and how Dean Dorton can help you, please contact our technology team.