Anyone who has a child has experienced it. You’re in the super market or mall, you’re in the kitchen, or just plain anywhere and your toddler will crash to their knees, roll around, and whine.
Apparently hackers are making our computers and smartphones do the same thing.
Barely a week goes by in 2018 and we’re already talking about the year’s first computer exploit, Meltdown.
Meltdown and its closely related cousin, Spectre, are a class of exploits that attack our computers by exploiting a flaw in how computer processors manage their memory (RAM) and load that memory for our apps, utilities, and games to run. The software itself takes advantage of the processors ability to multitask and swap physical memory between programs. The exploit uses a race condition technique to load privileged or protected memory into an unprotected space. This is my best attempt at explaining this while using the least amount of techno-jargon.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Most PC and Smartphone manufacturers have already released patches for Meltdown and Spectre.
2. Meltdown mostly affects Intel processors. Processors made in the last 20 years. Spectre affects AMD processors only.
3. Hackers need access to your device in order to steal anything from it.
4. You can be compromised by all of the usual means of exploitation, phishing, bad links, etc.
5. Compute as if you’re having sex. Don’t visit any old website without protection on your machine, and avoid surfing sites you should be suspicious of.
Windows 10 and Mac OS X all provide the ability of updating your systems inside the OS using Windows update or Apple’s installer.
Here are links explaining the patches for your affected systems:
Mac OS X for Multiple Operating Systems: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208331
Microsoft Windows: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4056892/windows-10-update-kb4056892
In the timeless words of K&R, Happy Computing!