Home Business News Meltdown and Spectre scare: What we know so far

Meltdown and Spectre scare: What we know so far

4th Jan 18 4:38 pm

How vulnerable is your data?

A two decade-old computer chip flaw has exposed majority of smartphones, computers, cloud storage, tablets and laptops and made them ‘vulnerable’ to attacks by hackers. So far no data breaches have been reported.

Two bugs – Meltdown and Spectre – have been identified which could now leak your sensitive data like passwords, photos, business documents to hackers thanks to ‘design flaws’ in their manufacture.

While Meltdown is specific to Intel chips, Spectre affects chips from Intel, AMD and Arm. Meltdown lets hackers bypass the hardware barrier between applications run by users and the computer’s memory, potentially letting hackers read a computer’s memory. It was first discovered by Project Zero in June last year.

According to the BBC, Meltdown affects laptops, desktop computers and internet servers with Intel chips. Meanwhile, Spectre affects some chips in smartphones, tablets and computers powered by Intel, ARM and AMD.

Intel Corp. confirmed yesterday that its chips contain a feature that makes them vulnerable to hacking, though it said other companies’ semiconductors are also susceptible. Both Intel and Google said they were planning to disclose the issue next week when fixes will be available.

Reports also suggest that industry has been aware of the problem for months and hoped to solve it before details were made public. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has said there was no evidence that the vulnerability had been exploited.

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