Spectre and Meltdown Bugs: How to Protect Your Devices

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Spectre and Meltdown Bugs

Spectre and Meltdown Bugs

Companies like Apple, Google, Intel, and Microsoft are rolling out fixes to protect against Spectre and Meltdown, two major flaws found in most computer chips that affect processors.

The hacks can occur in various ways, but ultimately users should be aware as both the bugs would allow an attacker to access the entire memory of a vulnerable computer.

Smartphones and other devices containing the vulnerable Intel, AMD and ARM chips are open to either both or one of the attacks. Spectre attacks can be exploited over the Web just by visiting a website running the requisite malicious code, and both Spectre and Meltdown bugs vulnerabilities could allow a hacker to steal your passwords, personal documents, photos and other sensitive information.

Researchers recently discovered these issues and unveiled the two-decade-old flaws on Wednesday. If you haven’t already, you’ll want to take action to protect your devices.

How-to Fix on Apple iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple TV

Check “Settings” on your iPhone and iPad and “Updates” in the Mac App Store to make sure your devices are up-to-date.

The Apple Watch is not affected by Meltdown or Spectre. Apple is working on updates for Safari to protect users against Spectre and expects to release them in the coming days.

How-to Fix on Google Android, Google Cloud

Google provides a helpful list of its products and services affected by the chip bugs, as well as their mitigation status.

Android software released this week includes mitigations.Google-supported Android phones including Nexus and Pixel devices will get that update, but others will have to wait for security updates from their cellular manufacturers.

The next Chrome browser update to be released on January 23, 2018, will contain fixes. A fix was included in Chrome OS 63 in December, so up-to-date Chromebooks received protection. However, Google has a list of computers that won’t receive the update because they are older models.

How-to Fix on Windows, servers, cloud, and Edge and Internet Explorer browsers

Microsoft also provides guidance for consumers on its website.They already released updates for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7 operating systems.

If you don’t have automatic updates turned on, go to Windows Settings to manually update. Moreover, PCs also require additional hardware protection, so companies will be issuing firmware updates. Microsoft said users should check with their computer manufacturers for more information.

According to Microsoft, the latest versions of Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer include fixes for both the bugs.

How-to Fix on Firefox

The most recent version of Firefox contains a fix for these flaws and doesn’t require any further steps from your side.

Intel Response to Spectre and Meltdown Bugs

Intel responds to the CPU kernel bug, claiming its patches will make PCs ‘immune’. Furthermore, Intel said the patches for the CPU vulnerability, due next week, would bring a negligible performance hit to the average user. Intel has also issued a general, nontechnical response after the discovery of the issues.

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