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Meltdown and Spectres, oh my!

February 07, 2018

Two computer vulnerabilities called Spectre and Meltdown, allow hackers to read the memory on your computer and see what information is being processed or used.

First, as one celebrated British author said, “Don’t Panic!” The news media are reporting two widespread computer vulnerabilities that affect most PCs made within the last few years. The vulnerabilities, called Spectre and Meltdown, allow hackers to read the memory on your computer and see what information is being processed or used. However, there’s no need to panic or be particularly stressed out at this point. Even though these vulnerabilities are pretty bad, there has been little news about an actual exploit allowing the bed guys to take advantage of these issues, and computer manufacturers and software companies are working hard to roll out patches.

What should you do? Ensure you have automatic updates for your operating system and web browsers turned on. As soon as the operating system and browser companies have patches, you will automatically download and install them. If you decide to patch yourself rather than let automatic updates do the work for you, keep a close eye on the companies that made your computer and install the patches they offer as soon as they are available.

So, for now, relax, patch your systems as the patches become available and keep using your computer as you would normally. If you have any questions, please call the Information Security Office at 942-2333.

  • Meltdown Spectre
    Meltdown Spectre