Meldown & Spectre CPU Vulnerabilities

January 12, 2018

You may have heard on the news about vulnerabilities in Intel, ARM (Apple), and AMD processors that lets a hacker access your system. You may not be aware that CPU makers knew about this problem for 7 months before someone discovered it and told the world. But I digress. Here’s what you need to know

This affects any computer (desktop, AIO, laptop), tablet or phone that has an Intel, AMD, or ARM processor in it. That’s pretty much all computers, many tablets, and many phones.

We don’t have all of the answers yet since it’s a developing situation. But based on what we know right now, here’s what you should know and what you should do.

This is a hardware issue. But CPU manufacturers won’t be replacing the CPU’s in everyone’s devices. What they are doing is releasing updates to the operating systems (Windows, MacOS, IOS, Android, Linux, etc.) to help plug the security hole in the CPU. If you heard these fixes can slow down your computer, that’s true. But it’s not a massive performance hit on most computers.

If your computer or tablet is running Windows 7, Windows 8 (or 8.1), or Windows 10, keep running Windows Update over and over and apply all of the important updates (don’t worry about optional updates) until there are no more updates to install.

If you are running Windows XP or Windows Vista, they won’t be updated with the security fix and we highly recommend that you replace these computers with new ones.

For Macs, make sure you are running the High Sierra version of MacOS and that you have all of the latest updates. If you have an older Mac that won’t update to High Sierra, consider replacing it with a newer model. To update your Mac, click on the App Store and go into the updates tab.

For IOS devices (iPhones, iPads), make sure you update these to IOS 11. Again, if you have an older device that won’t update to IOS 11, consider replacing it with a newer device. To update your IOS device, make sure your device is connected to Wi-Fi and plugged into a charger. Go to settings, General, Software update. You can also update by connecting your device to your computer and updating through iTunes.

For Android devices (phones and tablets), go into settings, about phone and it should tell you what kind of processor you have. If it says intel, AMD, or ARM, then you’ll want to update to the latest version of Android, is possible. If it doesn’t have Intel, AMD, or ARM, then your safe.

Probably none of you have a ChromeBook, but if you do, it needs to be updated as well.

So, once you get Windows/MacOS/IOS/Android/whatever updated, what else do you need to do? Nothing except all of the standard security precautions we recommend. Check out this article on our website that tells you what we recommend to keep your computer safe.

Note, if your computer is covered under our SAM plan, then we have you covered and you don’t have to worry about your computers.

As always, if you have questions or need help with your computers, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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