Meltdown and Spectre – Time to Panic?

CPU Meltdown

You may have heard about the two big vulnerabilities announced last week. Meltdown affects Intel and some ARM processors, and Spectre affects nearly every modern processor around.

What does this mean to your home or small business systems? Well, hopefully, nothing. These vulnerabilities are currently pretty technically difficult to exploit, so for now, unless there’s a really good reason a particularly savvy bad-actor would be motivated to hack you, you’re probably okay.

Beyond the technical difficulty, some of the exploits require physical access to the systems – because of this, it’s probably likely that any would-be attacker would opt for easier methods such as phishing. Still, it’s probable that this vulnerability will be packaged into a more user-friendly exploit with time – we’ll just have to see if the patches being released can keep up.

So, while it’s currently unlikely that your systems will be directly affected by these issues, it is extremely likely that we’ll see some high-profile breaches linked to Meltdown or Spectre – the kind of hacks that effect millions or customers.

So What can I do?

Well, for now, the best course of action is the make sure you stay on top of updates. Install those Windows (or your OS of choice) updates, update your phones, update your router, and install software updates for every program you use that handles sensitive data. If you aren’t sure how to proceed, or if you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out – Russell Browning Group is happy to be of assistance.

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You can read more about the discovery of Spectre and Meltdown in this fascinating article from Wired