If taking into account the technology of modern CPUs, massive security vulnerabilities need to be redesign somehow in all operating systems. The first problems have already begun to arise, so there should be some actions undertaken to protect operating systems. These issues are called Meltdown and Spectre, and they exist in a great variety of operating systems, including CPU hardware, Linux, Android, Windows, Chromebooks, macOS, iOS. If speaking about plugging the hole, it can affect the PC work as the whole and the Macsteam can be destroyed.
However, home users shouldn’t worry a lot about this issue. To avoid some obstacles, there should be used newly introduced updates and proper antivirus software.
If you want to take the action immediately, here is all you need to know about Meltdown and Spectre.
- What is the problem in general?
If going straight to the issue, the CPU exploit provides free access to your operating system`s sacrosanct kernel memory. Some CPU vulnerabilities can help the attacker to easily get data in the protected kernel memory. It includes all passwords, photos, emails etc. Meltdown seems to be a little bit serious. It strongly affects Intel processors as well. Clean Disk on Mac function is also noted. Spectre can easily break AMD and ARM processors, alongside with the Intel CPUs. This fact leads to the thought that mobile devices are at risk as well.
- What is kernel?
The kernel is located inside of your operating system. Actually, it facilitates and tracks the process all app and functions work on this or that computer. It should be noted that kernel has access to the operating system anytime.
- Is it possible to get to know that the computer is at risk?
Yes, sure. Even if you are a MAC user, you will still know that something went wrong.
- Is there any harmful software exploiting Spectre and Meltdown?
- What should I do to remain safe?
You should keep all the things updated all the time, including your operating system, web browser pronto, CPU’s firmware etc. Use only security software in your work.
- What patches are available at this moment?
There are several ways to protect your operating system. Intel has produced fast firmware updates for its processors: revised patches for Intel Skylake (6th-gen) and newer systems. The same is about Microsoft. The last has introduced optional emergency Windows patch which helps to fix various performance issues. AMD is also going to release some update protect against Spectre, including patches for Ryzen, Threadripper, and Epyc CPUs. If speaking about Apple, it is protected in macOS High Sierra 10.13.2. Chromebooks protection is all about Chrome OS 63. Other browsers also have their own features of protection.
- Will such fixes influence the general computer work?
A lot of people wondering whether these fixes will slow down their computers or Macs. However, the answer here depends on your device first, its operating system, workloads, and hardware. There can occur some difficulties and faults if you are running some old processors and late operating systems. However, if you update everything from time to time, there should be no problems. Speaking about games, they will not get slower as well.
- Are AMD processors affected?
Yes, they are. However, they are less affected than Intel chips. All CPUs now are vulnerable to Spectre attacks.