Spectre and Meltdown CPU Vulnerabilities

There are two new, and very dangerous, technology flaws that have recently been discovered, known as Spectre and Meltdown. As reported by arstechnica.com and McAfee Security, the flaws are attacks on the Central Processing Unit, or CPU, of your computers, smartphones, or tablets. Why would anyone want to attack the CPU, you ask? spectre-meltdown-blog-post-imageThe CPU is like an airplane terminal and air traffic controller. Not only is it responsible for routing information to and from the right places, it is a hub through which all information flows.

Let’s say, for instance, you want to make a banking transaction from your phone or computer. You need to login to your bank’s web page or app and enter your account number and password. The account information and password that you enter into the web site or app travel through the CPU and are sent to your bank for validation. After the information is verified by your bank, your account details are delivered to your device, travel through the CPU and are displayed to you.

Normally there are barriers in place that would prevent other apps or software from being able to access your data as it is moving through your device. The recently discovered flaws – Spectre and Meltdown, allow attackers to bypass those barriers and view all of the information that is moving through the CPU. Attackers would have access to passwords, financial data and all other personal information that are used by the software and applications on your device. Manufactures and vendors are currently pushing updates and patches to mitigate parts of these security flaws, however many of these fixes are not automatically installed and require manual installation by the end user.

If you have any questions about Spectre or Meltdown, please feel free to contact one of our friendly IT support technicians at (920) 569-2681. If you live in the greater Green Bay / De Pere area, you can stop in and see us for some advice at our office located at 400 Reid Street in De Pere, WI.