Computer hacking vigilantes are exploiting every nook and cranny when it comes to your devices. Hardware bugs Meltdown and Spectre are making the news around the world.
These modern-day hardware bugs can affect every computing device on the planet.
They can steal personal information such as passwords, emails, messages, stored data in browsers, pictures, and other sensitive documents.
Apple’s Mac operating system has long been touted as a secure environment, and its iOS platform rarely has to worry about major exploits when compared to its competitors.
Meltdown and Spectre are completely different animals that do not run like malware. You may never know that you are affected and your antivirus or Internet security software as far as I know can’t help you at the moment.
Apple is telling its users that all iOS and Mac devices are affected:
Security researchers have recently uncovered security issues known by two names, Meltdown and Spectre. These issues apply to all modern processors and affect nearly all computing devices and operating systems. All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time. Since exploiting many of these issues requires a malicious app to be loaded on your Mac or iOS device, we recommend downloading software only from trusted sources such as the App Store.
According to the company’s website, there are patches to iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2. The small percentage of users with an Apple Watch does not need to worry at the moment, as the wearable isn’t affected by Meltdown.
Apple isn’t the only company to race towards a solution to patch the latest vulnerabilities. Any device which uses chips from Intel, Arm, and AMD are all in the crosshairs. The next round of security patches from these manufacturers will likely address the CPU security flaw.
If your operating system is not patched then your computer is vulnerable to personal or corporate leaks, and you may never know if you have been compromised.
Apple plans to release mitigations in Safari in the next few days to defend against Spectre, and they will also work on defending against the bug in future versions of its operating systems.
No matter what OS you are running, the next time you are prompted for a software update, it would be wise not to ignore that message, as there is a high probability there is a patch to Meltdown and Spectre. All Intel processors made from 1995 with the exception of Intel Itanium and Intel Atom before 2013 are affected by Meltdown. Virtually every computing device including your smartphone are affected by Spectre.
Here’s an alleged short YouTube video demonstrating the stealing of passwords using a Meltdown attack: