Two security flaws that affect many of the most widely used computers and mobile devices have been discovered by software companies, who are now scrambling to push out fixes to protect users’ data, USA Today reports.
What are the flaws, and what do they do?
There are two flaws – one is called Meltdown, and the other Spectre. The flaws allow hackers to potentially access information stored in secure portions of a device’s CPU. This could include password information to secure accounts such as bank logins.
Does this affect my device?
It does if you’ve got a PC, a Mac, a smartphone or a tablet running either Android or Apple iOS. So, probably yes.
This could also affect other secure storage technology, such as servers or “cloud” storage.
To get more specific, Meltdown affects Intel chips made from 1995 on, and Spectre affects processors made by Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and ARM.
What should I do?
The way to get the patches that address this security flaw is to update the software on your devices. Your Android phone or iPhone will likely automatically prompt you to update the software.
For your Windows computer, go to this site and search “update Windows [insert version].” Mac computers usually prompt users to perform updates when available.
It’s also a good idea to check your security software to make sure it’s up to date, as it could potentially catch a hacker trying to exploit the security flaws.
The good news is that, as far as tech experts can tell, no one has exploited these flaws yet; they’re very complicated. But, it’s best to take steps to protect your personal data now.
Visit the following sites for more detailed information about whether a device you own might be vulnerable: