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Understanding Meltdown and Spectre.

It wouldn’t be too much to say that the year started off really buggy. Researchers working independently discovered a serious design flaw which plagues practically all modern microprocessors that leaves them vulnerable to certain exploits. Codenamed, Spectre and Meltdown, these vulnerabilities affect personal computers, mobile devices and cloud services depending on their infrastructure. Meltdown and Spectre can allow malicious programs to get secrets stored in the memory of other running programs, this includes but not limited to photos, emails, instance messages and even passwords stored in a password manager or browser.

If you want to know how this is even possible, John Graham-Cumming of Cloudflare has written an excellent article explaining Spectre and Meltdown in non-technical language.

Here are two videos of Meltdown in action.

So far patches have been released as security updates, so it goes without saying now is not the time to skip downloading OS updates. Make sure you install the latest security updates for your operating system and that your antivirus is also up to date.

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