Worrying details have emerged on one of the worst processor security flaws in the world earlier this week. Referred to as Meltdown, the flaw affects any Intel powered devices. From cloud computing system, to smartphones. The security flaw gives way to attackers to steal any of your sensitive data found in Intel processors. All processors designed by Intel such as ARM and AMD are exposed to the risk.
Meltdown was initially discovered by Google Zero’s security researchers along with industry and academic researchers from all over the world. But it was not the only security flaw to be discovered at the time. Another security flaw referred to as Spectre was also discovered. Such shocking findings left industries scrambling for protection measures to secure customers’ data and fixes to remedy the issue.
All Intel processors, primarily the ones manufactured since 1995, are found to be the most vulnerable. Atom processors manufactured before 2013 and Intel Itanium server chips are not exposed to the security flaw. Meltdown earns its reputation as the worst security flaw as it gives hackers the opportunity to easily bypass the barrier.
Mitigating the risk
Initially thought to only affect Intel powered devices, Apple has recently announced that boths security flaws also affect its devices. This destroys the bubble in which people believe that Apple is generally safer than Microsoft. As it turns out, all of Mac and iOS devices are just as vulnerable. However, the tech giant points out that the flaws only affect its particular feature: Speculative Execution.
Speculative Execution is one of the many CPU features that can be found in Apple devices. While the brand has released an update to mitigate the risks altogether, so far the update only covers Meltdown. It’s still unknown when Apple is going to address the issue pertaining to Spectre. Microsoft, on the other hand, has quickly rolled out emergency updates from preventive measures following the findings.
How to protect your Windows PC
On top of that, Microsoft has also announced that fixes will be released to customers on the 23rd of January. The magnitude in which the flaws may affect the customers is undeniably worrying. However, Microsoft has stated that they have yet to receive any complaints nor have they received information on attacks. So far, there is no single information on any of these flaws being carried out to attack.
Other than getting the latest Windows 10 Emergency updates and having some BIOS updates, you may do the following steps to ensure security:
- Update your devices to the latest Firefox 57 or Chrome version immediately on 23rd January.
- Check your Windows Update to make sure that the latest KB4056892 update is properly installed for your Windows 10 device.
- Check for firmware updates and support information on the website of your PC OEM, then immediately apply available updates.