You’ll have seen in the press over the last couple of days that a serious security bug has been discovered which exists in many processors made by Intel and others over the past decade. There are two bugs, that have been named Spectre and Meltdown. They’re serious, and could potentially allow malicious software to access information on your PC or server. Although the bug is in the processor hardware itself, its effects can be largely mitigated by a patch to the operating system. Almost every computer in the world is affected by these bugs, and the chances of you being personally targeted by hackers as a result of it is pretty much non-existent. But here are some recommendations.
1. If you’re in the market for a new computer or phone but you can afford to wait a while, do so. Intel and others are now starting to manufacture chips that include the fix.
2. If you use Windows 7, 8 or 10, or Server 2008 or later, Microsoft is issuing patches and these will be rolled out just like any other security update.
3. Keep an eye on your antivirus software and ensure that it is also up to date. The two chip bugs affect the way that antivirus software works, and so the antivirus software companies are publishing their own updates. Until your antivirus software has been updated, and has set a special flag on your computer to indicate that it has done so, Windows won’t install its own fix for Spectre and Meltdown. If you have noticed that your antivirus software isn’t updating properly, now is the time to give us a call.
4. If you use a version of Windows older than 7 / Server 2008, then you really need to get up to date. Lots of security problems that were discovered since support for Windows XP ended, including this one, mean that it really isn’t safe to continue with XP / Server 2003 any more.
Lots of security problems that were discovered since support for Windows XP ended, including this one, mean that it really isn’t safe to continue with XP / Server 2003 any more.
5. UPBEAT Business Computing will keep you up to date with any further developments should they occur. In the meantime it’s business as usual.
• PCs, laptops running Windows – All affected. Patch coming from Microsoft for Windows 7 / Server 2008 and later.
• MacOS desktops and laptops – All affected. Update coming from Apple.
• Android Phones / tablets – Not affected or already updated.
• Apple iPhones / iPads – Not affected or already updated.
Details of the Spectre and Meltdown bugs can be found in the following Wikipedia articles:
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