Discovery of Spectre and Meltdown, Two Chip Vulnerabilities, Causes Massive Security Threat
Last week, researchers at Google revealed two security vulnerabilities, Spectre and Meltdown. These two vulnerabilities affect numerous electronic devices, from desktops to handheld devices, and can be used by hackers to access personal user information, such as passwords, key chains, and even photos. Spectre was found to affect chips from Intel, AMD, and ARM, whose customers include big names in the technology sector, such as Apple Inc., Qualcomm Inc., and Samsung Electronics Co. Similarly, Meltdown has been found to affect Intel and ARM chips. In fact, it was found that almost every Intel processor is affected by Meltdown. Researchers claim chips that date back as far as 1995, over twenty years ago, can be affected by the vulnerabilities. Many companies have taken action since the announcement. Apple has introduced new security updates for all its apple products, IOS 11.2.2 for mobile devices and macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 for Mac users, and urges customers to update in order to protect themselves from hackers. Intel’s CEO announced that approximately ninety percent of its recently made processors from the past five years will be fixed by the end of the week, with a patch for Windows 10 already announced for Thursday and older versions soon after. The CEO also reassured consumers during his speech, stating that Intel has seen no sign of stolen data from the two vulnerabilities. Overall, the general advice from the technology companies to consumers has been to stay alert for news of new updates to devices and install them as quickly as possible in order to best protect themselves.
Other interesting related articles:
Two articles by BBC that addresses common questions related to chip hacks, patches, and when a consumer is most vulnerable.
An interesting article that discusses how multiple researchers discovered a 20-year-old chip vulnerability at the same time.