- The tech world is in a tizzy over “Meltdown” and “Spectre” — two methods of exploiting a security vulnerability found in Intel, AMD, and ARM processors which, between them, threaten almost all PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, regardless of manufacturer or operating system.
- The exploits were discovered by Google, which warns that an attacker could use them to steal sensitive or confidential information, including passwords.
- The first wave of patches has already started to go out for Microsoft’s Windows 10, Apple’s MacOS, Linux, and Android.
- These fixes could slow down some computers, particularly older ones.
- Spectre is particularly nasty — there’s no real fix for it, and it exploits a fundamental part of how processors work.
Silicon Valley is abuzz about ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ — new ways for hackers to attack Intel, AMD, and ARM processors that were first discovered by Google last year, and publicly disclosed Wednesday.
Meltdown and Spectre, which take advantage of the same basic security vulnerability in those chips, could hypothetically be used by malicious actors to “read sensitive information in [a] system’s memory, such as passwords, encryption keys, or sensitive information open in applications,” as Google puts it in an official FAQ.
The first thing you need to know: Pretty much every PC, laptop, tablet, and smartphone is affected by the security flaw, regardless of which company made the device or what operating system it runs. The vulnerability isn’t easy to exploit — it requires a specific set of circumstances, including having malware already running on the device — but it’s not just theoretical.
And the problem could affect much more than just personal devices. The flaw potentially could be exploited on servers and in data centers and massive cloud computing platforms such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud. In fact, given Read More Here