CRITICAL UPDATE to DCR Tech Alert:
What is the threat: The trio of vulnerabilities known as Meltdown and Spectre variant 1 and variant 2 are unlike other security threats in that they exist in a piece of hardware referred to as a processor. To put the magnitude in perspective, every computer, laptop, tablet and smart phone has a processor, and units shipping as recently as December 2017 appear to be at risk. To date there has been no report of a security breach exploiting Spectre variant 1 or variant 2 or Meltdown. That in no way minimizes the severity or seriousness of the problem and the technology industry is in a race with cyber-criminals to mitigate the threat before the criminals figure out how to exploit it.
What brands are affected: At the writing of this alert, it appears that any device with a processor manufactured by Intel, AMD or Arm in the last 20 years is potentially affected.
When will Intel, AMD and Arm fix this:The processor manufacturers will release firmware with microcode updates to the original equipment manufacturers; i.e. HP, Dell, Lenovo, etc; as they determine the firmware is stable. The first round of firmware updates released, resulted in an slowed performance and crashes, making the process of releasing patches tedious. In most cases the first round of firmware updates have been halted, with some releasing additional firmware updates that had less impact. Work is ongoing.
What do I do: The ‘fix’ may ultimately lie with the processor manufacturers, but, the threat is so serious that numerous other technology companies are also involved in developing updates to mitigate the threat. Android, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and the anti-virus/anti-spyware companies have all released or are releasing security updates designed to reduce the threat of the new attack methods posed by Spectre and Meltdown. At this time most sources in the technology industry recommend the following:
1.) Ensure your operating system and anti-virus/anti-spyware have all current security patches installed.
2.) Android smart phone, iPhones and iPad users should install the latest update.
3.) Ensure your browser has current security patches installed.
4.) Ensure all applications have vendor recommended updates installed.
5.) Once your computer, laptop, tablet, smart phone manufacturer recommends a firmware update, seek professional assistance.
Information will continue to be released as it becomes available. Please do not hesitate to contact DCR Support at 918-436-1830 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We will do our best to assist you.