It’s a new month and a new security threat to worry about! This time, researchers have discovered gaps in security stemming from central processing units - better known as the chip or microchip. The news on these microchip security flaws broke this past Wednesday (January 3, 2018) and as of yet no data breaches have been reported. This security scare impacts Intel, ARM, and AMD chips, which roughly means that nearly all computers worldwide and many devices have been exposed to security flaws. This leaves them vulnerable to attacks by hackers.The two microchip security flaws, dubbed Meltdown and Spectre have yet to be exploited so we should not panic. Rather we should get informed and stay informed about what this could mean for your computer and devices, especially now that the flaw has gone public. Here are the basics: What are these flaws?
Meltdown impacts laptops, desktop computers, and internet servers with Intel chips. This flaw had been partially solved by software updates released in December, and reports indicate that there is no evidence of cybercriminals exploiting the flaw.
Spectre has a potentially wider reach. It affects some chips in smartphones, tablets, and computers powered by Intel, ARM, and AMD. This is more difficult to guard against.
What information is at risk? Given the publicity of this vulnerability, hackers who exploit this flaw could potentially read information stored on a computer’s memory and steal information like passwords or credit card data. Apple devices are potentially vulnerable to hackers using malicious software to steal sensitive data such as passwords or private photos.What can users do? According the the BBC News Online, “Google reports that Android phones with the most recent security updates are protected, and users of web services like Gmail are also safe. Chromebook users on older versions will need to install an update when it comes. Chrome web browser users are expected to receive a patch on 23 January.”If your phone or device is under the Apple umbrella, the software and security updates that happen regularly should protect your technology. Consumers and businesses should check to see if their devices and software are up to date and apply updates as soon as they become available. In the meantime, they should be extra vigilant about visiting untrustworthy websites or installing unauthorised programs. Always install apps from reputable app stores and never open applications that have arrived from an unknown sender. ]]>