Meltdown and Spectre chip flaws: keep calm and wait for patches

Caroline Scotter Mainprize | January 5, 2018

You may have heard on the news about two major bugs found in computer chips made by Intel, AMD and ARM.

They have been dubbed ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ – two names almost guaranteed to induce anxiety – and we are told that, if they are not fixed, they could be used by hackers to steal sensitive data.

The average IT user, though, should take care not to panic. The greatest danger lies in cyber-criminals’ exploiting your concerns and persuading you to download something that they claim is a fix – but is in fact a virus.

According to the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), there is no evidence that the vulnerability has actually been exploited.

Some software updates containing fixes have already been issued, and others will be coming in the next couple of days. At First Line we have a maintenance schedule to roll out patches to all our clients’ systems as soon as they are available.

Most users, whether individuals or businesses, do not have to do anything themselves. However, if you are worried about any of your devices, go directly to the websites of Apple, Google, Microsoft, or Linux for information.

  • Do not click on emails that purport to offer you a patch, even if they look as if they come from one of these companies
  • Check for updates for your devices and carry out promptly
  • Only download apps from recognised sources such as Microsoft Or Apple Stores, not from websites or emails with links