Recently, Intel got hit by Meltdown and Spectre, the fresh new wave of malware that has been destroying CPU’s and other devices’ data. It is so sudden and rapid that people are not even aware of the damage that it is causing. In order to know what is Meltdown and Spectre and how you can prevent falling a prey to it, we have pinned down this piece of article to create awareness among the non-techies out there.
All you need to know about Meltdown and Spectre:
It all starts with a corrupted microchip. A malicious program is being installed in modern day processors that exploits their data and other sensitive information to hackers. Meltdown and Spectre are hardware bugs that steal all your personal data stored in the back-end memory of your running applications and programs. This might include your passwords, photos, emails, instant messages, credit or debit card details, browser history or anything stored on your device, personal computer or any cloud platform you have used. Moreover, in case of cloud infrastructure, Meltdown and Spectre bugs can steal other user’s data as well if it is being shared.
But if you want to go in further detail, let us split the two bugs and find out how each of them exploit your data independently. Meltdown destroys the ultimate isolation between your operating system and the applications you are running. This allows the bug to access your personal memory and secrets of other programs as well. It is applicable to virtually every Intel chip made for many years. The flaw depends on how much memory the operating system and user programs share.
On the other hand, Spectre attacks the isolation between different applications making their data vulnerable and more susceptible to viruses. It is applicable to chips from Intel, AMD, and ARM and almost every other processor that offers speculative execution. This bug is difficult to exploit and even harder to diminish.
How to save yourself from Meltdown and Spectre?
Therefore, as reports are coming up, Intel is the company most hit by these bugs. Spectre attacks everyone but Meltdown only hits Intel and ARM. For Intel being the largest manufacturer of microchips, every chip they made for the last 20 years could possibly be vulnerable to Meltdown.
Apart from Intel, AMD and ARM, CPU and Device manufacturers like Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, Google and Cloud companies such as Amazon have been exploited too.
While the responses haven’t been smooth, vendors and technology giants are collaborating to bring a clean fix. Apple devices hit by Meltdown and Spectre have also been very much in the news. Mac, who were initially tight lipped about the issue, finally released a statement saying that all its devices have been affected.
They also stated that a series of fixes in MAC OS 10.13.2 are underway, so the users must update all their Mac devices immediately to get rid of this alarming issue. And in case if any of their devices already were exploited, they must immediately report to concerning authorities.