Meltdowns are never good

This week the security news headlines were dominated by the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. You need to pause and understand how this affects the security of your computers and mobile devices.

Without getting into the technical details (that you can read here), nearly all CPUs manufactured in recent years are vulnerable to leaking information. A hackers can use malicious software to access information in the memory of your computer/tablet/phone. At least in theory, this means access to passwords, credit card information and other sensitive data. All of this is possible due to bugs in the CPU logic. It appears as if Intel processors (used on most PCs and Macs) are most vulnerable.

The CPU manufacturers are not able to fix existing chips. As a stop-gap, operating systems are being patched to guard against the exploit. Updates are already rolling out for Windows, MacOS, Linux , iOS and Andoid to mitigate the risks.

How does this affect Anno web servers?
RedHat was quick to release a Linux kernel update to address the issue. We have updated all our servers with the new secure kernel. No worries in this department.

How does this affect your devices?
Do install updates for your operating system as soon as they become available. We do foresee some troublesome situations:

  • If you are still using Windows XP (you shouldn’t), your PC will likely remain vulnerable.
  • Older Android phones will probably not receive updates. If so, consider a getting new phone. Seriously.

Regardless keeping your operating system up to date, we strongly recommend you also use anti-virus software on all your computers, tablets and phones.

Meltdowns are never good. Be safe.