Meltdown and Spectre
January had barely appeared when headlines blared about two newly-discovered computer security flaws: Meltdown and Spectre. Computer processor manufacturers and IT security folks have been scrambling ever since—and will be for awhile. But in the wake of seemingly endless updates (especially for Windows machines) and the profusion of hacker stories, end users may be getting jaded.
It's dangerous because Meltdown and Spectre are dangerous. They affect computers, tablets and smartphones—Windows, Mac, iOS, Android—and even cloud computing. Basically, they affect nearly all computers built in the last 20 years. These flaws are built-in to the design of nearly all Intel, AMD, and ARM processor chips. They could allow a hacker to access the kernel, the deepest core where the computer stores its most secret documents, passwords, and encrypted keys.
We've pulled together the most important information about these monsters so we can tell you just what you need to know and what you need to do.