CPU Bugs ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Threaten Systems

Technology has led to significant advancements in society. Though this has been essential to every day life, new technology has led to a new wave of security threats that people have had to adjust to. It is extremely worrying when security flaws lead to sensitive information becoming vulnerable. The latest CPU bugs could potentially be the most devastating across a multitude of computer systems.

Potentially Devastating CPU Bugs

Sensitive data like passwords and banking information could be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Such security flaws have been discovered in processors designed by Intel, AMD and ARM. These flaws have been dubbed as ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’. Found by security researchers, both pose a significant threat as they can affect virtually every computer. This includes: smartphones, PCs and tablets from any vendor or operating system.

‘Meltdown’

Daniel Gruss one of the researchers at Graz University of Technology states that Meltdown is “one of the worst CPU bugs ever found”. It potentially allows cyber attackers to get through the hardware barrier between applications run by users and the computer’s core memory. The bug is said to primarily affect Intel processors manufactured after 1995. The company’s Itanium server chips and atom processors before 2013 are not affected.

‘Spectre’

Spectre possibly allows hackers to trick applications into releasing sensitive information. These applications are generally having little to no errors to access through. This bug is more effort for hackers to use but it is also more difficult to fix. The flaw affects almost all modern processors made by various manufacturers.

What can Systems Users Do?

System users will need to download a patch and update their operating system to fix the problem. Most technology companies have released said fixes.  ARM and Intel are adamant that the bugs are not a result from a design flaw. Intel are insisting that the solutions won’t impact on the performance of their computers. Their share price did fall on Wednesday by 3.4%, but it is unclear at this time whether Intel will face financial liability.

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