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Posted by A-Jay Orr

Your Computers and Devices Have A Bug! Here’s What To Do…

This past week, two vulnerabilities compromised the basic security of nearly all computers and devices. Yes, Mac users…that includes you! These vulnerabilities are found inside Intel processors (a.k.a. the ‘brain’ that controls your computer or devices).
  1. Meltdown is a bug that enables attackers to read your kernel code (your operating system’s most protected coding).
  2. Spectre is a bug that can trick your programs into sharing private data.
This is not a drill, people. If you have a CIO or virtual CIO, lucky you! They’ve been keeping a pulse on this incident since day one and are undoubtedly already working with vendors to keep your systems safe. For everyone else — you’ve got some work to do. Here’s what you need to know:

Both vulnerabilities require TWO patches/fixes.

One from Microsoft that applies to the operating system and one from the vendor (e.g., Intel) that applies to the firmware (permanent software programmed into your computer and devices). Unfortunately, this detail is being under-reported! Keep reading to learn how to get these software and OS patches/fixes.

Vulnerabilities are not viruses or malware.

A vulnerability is a computer system flaw that leaves the system open for attacks. Just because you have vulnerabilities doesn’t mean they are actively exploited — yet. You do not automatically have a virus or malware. HOWEVER, make no mistake, the threat is closing in quickly. 

Microsoft already released patches.

The Windows 10 patch is already available and automatically got pushed down to your device. If you have automatic updates turned on, confirm that you are running the latest software. If you do not have automatic updates turned on, now is the time to flip that switch! Patches don’t take care of themselves. The Windows 7 and 8 patches will be released next week.

It is your responsibility to obtain firmware updates.

You can find, download and install the firmware updates specific to your device by visiting the device manufacturer’s website. The processor chips affected by Meltdown and Spectre include: Meltdown and Spectre are among the worst ever found. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this won’t be the last time we see such a large-scale exploit. Bugs and vulnerabilities are discovered every single day. The best way to protect yourself is to keep your systems religiously up-to-date. Businesses today should also hire a dedicated IT professional whose responsibility is to keep a pulse on technology trends and evolving security best practices.

Processor chips and bugs aside, you also need to be thinking about your greatest security weakness. Not sure what that is? The answer will surprise you.

Get Secure