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What is Meltdown and Spectre?

Meltdown is a security flaw that could allow hackers to bypass the hardware barrier between applications run by users and the computer’s core memory, which is normally highly protected. Which is thought to only affect Intel Processors.

Spectre is slightly different. It potentially allows hackers to trick otherwise error-free applications into giving up secret information.

All devices including phones, laptops, tablets and Pc's (Microsoft, Andriod and Apple) are affected by a security flaw found in the Intel, AMD and other processors.

It is thought to affect Intel processors manufactured since 1995.

When news of the Meltdown attack leaked, estimates were that the performance hit could be 30 percent, or even more, based on certain synthetic benchmarking. For most of us, it looks like the hit won't be anything like that severe. But it will have a strong dependence on what kind of processor is being used and what you're doing with it.

At the moment, you shouldn’t panic too much, because so far it doesn’t look like the Spectre or Meltdown flaws have been used in an attack, and device manufacturers are working with Intel, ARM and AMD to fix these flaws.

Intel has claimed that the exploits can't corrupt, modify or delete data. While it’s good to see companies set aside their differences to find a fix for these flaws, it has emerged that one flaw, Spectre, may need a processor redesign to fix.

However, this does mean that future processors should be free from the Spectre and Meltdown security flaws. So, don’t be too alarmed, but keep an eye on any updates your device offers, and follow our advice on how to protect against the Meltdown and Spectre CPU security flaws.

Many companies, such as Microsoft and Apple, have released updates to their software to help mitigate Meltdown and Spectre - though a full fix for these issues could still be some way off.

Microsoft and AMD got their act together to resume the flow of working fixes.

Microsoft, Google, and Mozilla had issued emergency security patches for their browsers as a first line of defence.

Apple have now released updates for iOS and macOS, so please install the latest 11.2.2 iOS and 10.13.2 supplement update for macOS to fix the vulnerability.

Customers running earlier versions of macOS can install a Safari 11.0.2 update  for macOS Sierra 10.12.6 and OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 that is designed to mitigate the effects of the Spectre vulnerability. Customers running macOS Sierra and OS X El Capitan should download the new version of Safari to make sure their machines are protected. 

Installing all Windows updates (specifically KB4056892 for Windows 10) and browser updates which can be checked in your browser by typically clicking the Menu icon and selecting Check for updates.

Google Chrome can be updated by clicking the Menu Icon (3 dots) selecting Help, About Google Chrome.

Here are a few links we suggest you follow to keep your machine up-to date.

Intel Updates

Windows 10 Updates

Google Chrome

If you're worried your Windows PC may be affected, you could try Ashampoo's Spectre and Meltdown checker, which will check your system quickly and easily and will inform you if it is. If so, read on the App to find out how you can protect yourself against the Meltdown and Spectre CPU security flaws.

Spectre Meltdown CPU Checker

The roll out of fixes has been released however it will need you the client to install them by visiting your computer manufacturers website, and running Operating System updates.

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  1. Scott harrington

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