Since we endeavor to keep you informed of the latest cyber security threats, we watch carefully for news of recent developments. Lately we’ve been hearing more and more about two cyber attacks, called Meltdown and Spectre, that can exploit vulnerabilities in your computer’s processor. So, here is a brief breakdown on these two growing threats, along with some suggestions to protect yourself.

Meltdown. This attack can access your computer’s memory, if you are running a processor on an un-patched operating system. “Un-patched” simply means that the software company has recognized a security vulnerability, and has released an update to “patch” the potential weakness.

If you’re using an un-patched system, Meltdown can access your computer’s memory, and therefore your data and other programs on the machine.

Spectre. Spectre works by breaking the isolation between different applications. Even an error-free program (which you would assume to be “safe”) can be tricked into disclosing sensitive information. Again, this attack exploits known software vulnerabilities, for which patches have been released.

How to protect yourself. Luckily, protecting yourself from both Meltdown and Spectre attacks is relatively simple in most cases. You might have noticed that both of these attacks exploit systems for which patches have been released, but not installed. The simplest safeguard is to check for security patches and install them on your equipment.

It is important to note that both Meltdown and Spectre can work on computers, tablets, smartphones, and even in the cloud (depending on the cloud provider’s infrastructure). So, don’t stop at patching your work computers. Install security updates on all equipment you will be using on your network, and remind employees to do the same with their mobile devices.

For more information on cyber security threats, give us a call at 888-RING-MY-TECH. We can help you ensure that your equipment is updated, secure your network, and answer any questions you might have.