Spectre and Meltdown
There’s a 50% chance you might have read these two words on the Internet over the past few days…
Before giving you my own explanation, Red Hat a software company that provides open-source software, has come up with a really explanative video describing these two security threats.
For those who are too lazy to watch the 3 minute video…
Say you go to McDonald’s you get a Big Mac. You go every day to McDonald’s and the servers assume you’re getting a Big Mac so they keep it ready for you every afternoon.
But one day you go and you decide to get a McFlurry instead. This makes the McDonald’s employees throw the Big Mac away.
Now transferring this information to the digital lingo, this “Big Mac” that the computer threw away, gets stored in some sort of “discard pile” that doesn’t really have any security measures.
This has always operated this way, the only difference being that cyber criminals are now smarter.
What can they do?
This “Big Mac” is another way of saying browser history, saved credit cards, passwords, and countless of other information you have stored on your computers, cellphones, or even the cloud.
Meltdown: “basically melts security boundaries which are normally enforced by the hardware”
Spectre: “breaks the isolation between different applications, allowing an attacker to trick error-free programs into leaking their secrets”
How can I protect myself?
I know I haven’t been very dramatic on this article, but I promise you this is one of the worst cyber issues out there and you don’t want to fall victim to it. I’ve spoken about a few different cyber attacks and stuff in the past but you need to watch out for this one.
Apparently Meldown is less serious and can be patched by software, but Spectre can directly affect the insides of your hardware.
- Update all your systems and keep everything up to date. Officially. Through Windows Updates or your Mac App Store.
- Update your browsers while you’re at it.
- Make sure you have decent antivirus software involved.
If you’re a Windows user and are curious to know if you have fallen prey to this, Windows has released a few steps for you.