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Meltdown and Spectre put the tech community on high alert

The revelation of the vast and widespread CPU flaws dubbed Meltdown and Spectre put the general public into a panic and the tech community on high alert. Researchers uncovered some software analysis techniques that could be used for malicious purposes and have the ability to impact nearly anyone with a computer, meaning Meltdown and Spectre could lead to widespread vulnerabilities. Meltdown impacts security boundaries enforced by hardware while Spectre impacts the isolation between different applications. Meltdown and Spectre are technically two separate vulnerabilities that just happened to be discovered around the same time. But together, they could lead to issues for pretty much anyone with a computer, making passwords and other sensitive data vulnerable to hackers.

Tech giants like Google and Microsoft have already begun addressing these vulnerabilities in some ways and commenting on how they might impact popular products and platforms. Here’s a rundown of some of the latest information.

Google products

Google has released a list of products that might be impacted, along with the patches and other steps it has taken to secure those products and platforms. For example, the company issued a patch for the latest Android update. So devices that have updated their OS should be protected. However, the company still recommends that individual users take some steps to secure their data. Specifically, the company suggests that Chrome users enable site isolation.

Microsoft Intel products

Microsoft has also issued patches for Intel devices and operating systems. If you’ve already updated your programs, your data should be a bit safer. However, Microsoft has recently halted some of those patches because they led to issues for some, including making certain PCs with AMD chips unbootable. Keep an eye out for future updates that will not include these major issues.

Apple products

Apple has also acknowledged that its computers, smartphones, and other devices are vulnerable. However, the company issued patches in the iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2 updates. These patches mainly address vulnerabilities related to Meltdown. And patches for Spectre should be released in the coming days as well.

Other tech

Other tech companies have also begun addressing these major security issues. Since it’s something that could impact nearly any computer or device, it’s worth keeping an eye out for any update or patch issued, no matter what device or system you’re using. As with any cybersecurity issue, there’s no way to completely guarantee that your data is safe from hackers. But if you keep your computer up to date, you have a better chance of avoiding these major security issues.