CPU threat almost universal

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Intel processor mainboardIf you use a desktop or laptop, which most of us do, your Intel processing unit is most likely under threat of Meltdown and Spectre. This BBC article is aimed to give users top-line and easily accessible information about the bugs and basic steps to take in order to protect themselves from being hacked.

It now appears that the major tech companies have been working for the last six months on security updates to mitigate the Spectre and Meltdown exploits that are threatening most of the world’s computer processors. It looks as if Meltdown can be stopped relatively easily, but Spectre may call for redesigned operating systems and completely new processors to guarantee immunity from hacking.

While the Meltdown threat is confined to laptops, desktop computers and internet servers with Intel chips, Spectre has a broader spectrum that includes smartphones and tablets. Cloud-connected devices and data centres are also at risk. To put the problem in perspective, over 90% of the world’s 1.5 billion desktop and laptops use chips that have been compromised.

Attackers will find Spectre more difficult to exploit than Meltdown, but mitigating it is also harder. It is likely that the new patches will result in computer systems slowing down. Nevertheless, the best security advice is to download all available fixes straight away – and not to wait for a ‘remind me later’.

Read more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-42562303

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