Don’t Panic! Meltdown and Spectre Update
You’ve probably heard by now about the huge security blunder by Intel and other computer processor manufacturers referred to as “Meltdown” and “Spectre”. After the information hit the news on January 4th, 2018, the media and the technology world has been in a bit of an uproar about it and scrambling to implement a resolution since now the whole world, including every would-be hacker out there knows about them.
The flaw itself is related to the way that the physical processor handles information, and therefore is essentially a “hardware” issue. The best hope in our opinion of completely resolving the issues without replacing all the processors in the world is with firmware updates, released by the CPU manufacturers.
Microsoft and other OS manufacturers have started releasing patches to help “reduce the exposure”, but some of these updates have already rendered some computer systems useless. After the patch is installed some systems may not boot. In the case that it works like it is supposed to, it will essentially decrease the performance of the computer system. How much, and whether it will actually be noticeable to most users is still up in the air.
Intel also has experienced issues with it’s first attempts to release firmware updates as well. They are recommending that many users hold off on installing their initial release because of other issues that the update causes (unrelated to security). However, I am still hopeful that they will release an effective solution soon that will not slow our computers to a halt.
So here are the important things you need to know.
The Meltdown vulnerability affects almost all Intel based processors, but we believe that it does not affect AMD based processors.
Intel has released updates for 90 percent of the processors released within the last 5 years.
We expect all updates, operating system and CPU firmware patches to be released and installed via the standard update mechanisms… usually Windows Update. If the CPU firmware updates require additional steps we will let you know – once we confirm that they have released stable updates.
We have released a new engine version of our iSAFE Security product which will also help to protect against the vulnerabilities and will be pushing out the update to all of our clients later this week.
What you should do?
First of all…. relax. The media loves to create panic because fear is good for ratings. However, we should keep in mind that these vulnerabilities have been around for years. The only difference now is that they have become public knowledge.
We’ve never been one to “test” the first release of anything when your business and productivity are at stake… so we are advising customers to wait until the final stable release of whatever solution the manufacturers come up with. Then we can install with confidence that it will be both secure and non-detrimental to your business.
With that being said, if you are not one of our Complete Managed Support customers, we do recommend keeping an eye on the media updates and let us know if you need assistance addressing any of the updates or resulting issues.
If you are a Complete Managed Support we will be taking care of all that for you at no additional charge… cause that is what we do!