How to Protect Yourself From These 2 New Security Flaws

Word to the wise: Say yes to updates
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2018 3:14 PM CST

(Newser) – Update your software. For now, that's the best advice being dispensed in the wake of a new security threat that poses a risk to pretty much every modern tech device in existence, from laptops to smartphones. The security flaws known as Meltdown and Spectre are unique in that they are hardware bugs involving computer processors. "The ideal fix would be replacing all the chips in these devices with new ones that come without the hardware issues," writes Chris Smith of BGR. "That’s not feasible, however, so the next best thing is fixing everything via software updates." Details:

  • The risk: It's pretty basic. "Both flaws provide hackers with a way of stealing data, including passwords and other sensitive information," explains the New York Times. "If hackers manage to get software running on one of these chips, they can grab data from other software running on the same machine." Cloud-computing services such as those offered by Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and IBM are vulnerable.
  • The good news: There's no evidence that hackers have exploited the bugs yet, reports the AP.
  • The basics: This primer hits the details. Of note: You probably wouldn't be immediately able to detect if you were affected, and an antivirus program may not be much help on that front.

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