Present in almost all computers and smartphones today on the market, allow hackers to steal our data by accessing directly to the processor.
Discovered by computer security experts from the Google Project Zero Group and university researchers from various parts of the world, Meltdown and Spectre aspire to win the palm of 2018 ‘s worst vulnerability. All although they were made known in the very first days of the year. I mean, some kind of record.
What are Meltdown and Spectre
Unlike the many software bugs that are (unfortunately) accustomed to, Meltdwon and Spectre are two hardware vulnerabilities born from design errors made decades ago. According to the information released by the authors of the discovery, all the processors – or almost – for PCs and Smartphones made from 1995 onwards would be affected. In short, it does not matter that you have a Windows computer or an IMAC, an Android smartphone or an iPhone: the data contained within them would still be a danger.
Both attacks exploit flaws in the design of CPUs and SoC and allow a hacker to access the present memory cells of the processors (theoretically inaccessible and hyper-secure) and to steal the data stored within them. Although it is a very complex hacking technique, it strips two of the worst vulnerabilities ever discovered for a long series of reasons. Two on all: affects everyone regardless of the device used (smartphone or PC) and the operating system mounted (Windows, MacOS, Android and IOS); From a theoretical point of view, there is no way for the user to defend against the Meltdown and Spectre attacks.
How to defend yourself from Meltdown and Spectre
As just mentioned, there is no way for users to defend themselves against attacks: because of two hardware vulnerabilities, there is no software (such as antivirus or firewalls, for example) that can restrain hackers. The only solution is to download and install all the updates that the manufacturers and developers are releasing: For a few days, in fact, the various Google, Apple, Microsoft and Intel are working on patches able to circumscribe the problem and put To secure user data.
How to protect Windows computers from Meltdown and Spectre
Microsoft has already prepared – and is releasing – a security patch for all its operating systems. Windows 10 users should automatically download security updates, so all they have to do is wait for the computer to install the whole thing. If you are using Windows 8 and Windows 7, you still have to wait a bit. It is to be said, however, that the update could lead to some compatibility issue with some antivirus, so much so that Microsoft recommends disabling them and relying on the security of Windows Defender, at least in these early days of release.
How to protect IPhone and Mac from Meltdown and Spectre
Apple also released a security update for all its devices, both PC and smartphone and tablet. Mac users and owners of IPhone and IPad need only check the availability of system updates, download and install them.
How to protect Intel PC from Meltdown and Spectre
As mentioned, the processors and chip manufacturers themselves have been activated to make firmware and kernel upgrades that protect computers and smartphones. Intel should be the first to do so: as stated during the CES 2018 in Las Vegas, within February will be available patches that can protect over 90% of computers today in circulation.