Meltdown and Spectre Update: Please Read
Folks, as you know by now, Meltdown and Spectre and real threats, and they’re scary because they’re rather ubiquitous.
I wanted to make sure that everyone knows three things at this point – but subject to change as more details continue to come out and companies start patching, etc.:
- Meltdown seems to ‘only’ affect Intel chips. This is huge, because Intel dominates the market, but it’s confusing because when people lump Meltdown and Spectre together it makes it look like an Intel-only issue.
- Spectre affects Intel, AMD, ARM manufacturers, and potentially others. So Spectre could potentially affect everything from your phone to your IoT devices to your computers.
- Software patching will help with Meltdown, but won’t help with Spectre – at least based on information known at this time. Spectre is a hardware issue and it’s something that the industry will either have to handle through hardware replacement or by fighting individual threats when they pop up.
As always, trying not to get too technical on this site, but if you have any questions about these threats, please contact me via the comment button on the website.
Three other things that you should know and do right now:
- Many manufacturers already have patches ready for Meltdown. Some have already pushed patches out. Don’t ignore patches and software updates! Make sure that you keep your system up to date.
- Meltdown patches will slow down some processing. Why is a very long story. So, just know that it’s going to happen, and you’ll see some slowdowns not only with local computing but also potentially with cloud services as they patch. There is nothing currently to be done about this – better to slow down a bit than be exploited.
- Spectre is ugly, and manufacturers can’t afford to reissue new processors to all affected devices, so there are going to be exploits, and those exploits will need to be fought one at a time, like most other security threats. Just be ready for patches, updates, etc and pay attention to this site and other security sites for news.
Moral: These are huge issues, they’re not easy to solve, and please patch your systems as soon as patches are issued.