What are 'Meltdown' and 'Spectre', and how can I protect myself?

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By Steve Thomson 08 Jan 2018
protect against meltdown and spectre

‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ are ‘security vulnerabilities’ that have turned up recently. But what does that mean?

 

What's the issue?

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These ‘vulnerabilities’ can be risky for most mobile phones, tablets and computers. Put simply, there are some issues with the processors at the heart of our devices – meaning attackers could get hold of info that they shouldn’t.

 

What does that mean?

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Because these vulnerabilities exist in the way the processors were made, they can’t actually be fixed. Instead, the operating systems they run need to be updated. That’ll help stop attackers getting your information.

 

What can you do?

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The best way to protect your kit is to make sure that the operating system is up-to-date. For computers, Windows 10, MacOS and ChromeOS have already released updates, and those should update automatically. If your computer runs an older version of Windows, you should check for a patch through Windows Update.

Mobile phones and tablets could be at risk too, so make sure you install any updates that come through as soon as you can. If you haven’t had any come through, you can always check for them manually through the settings menu.

Once you’ve updated the operating system, check any other software you use for updates, especially your web browser and anti-virus software. Updating everything is the best way to stay safe.

 

How can we help?

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If you’re not sure whether your kit is protected, use our Free Check-up service. We’ll do a scan to check that the operating system is up-to-date, along with your anti-virus software, and let you know what we find.

If your computer is running an older version of Windows, we’ll see if it can be updated to Windows 10, and let you know what we can do to help.

It's also a good idea to only download apps and games from trusted sources. Using the Windows Store or Mac App Store helps prevent malware being installed on your computer instead of the app you want.

Hopefully that's put your mind at rest about the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilites, but if you'd like to speak to an Expert from Team Knowhow, you can get in touch with us here.

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