Technology has truly transformed our lives. A big majority of us are now too obsessed with technology that it practically runs our lives. We are too invested in our gadgets and spend hours on end tinkering with it. While they can save us from boredom at times, they also prevent us from being productive especially if we can’t help ourselves but indulge on our whims of getting updated on all the latest things happening on the web. We like to think that these devices make life easy and convenient for us, which is actually the case more often than not. Unfortunately, it can also be a major bummer and headache if you encounter tech problems especially that not all of us are that tech-savvy and know how to fix these problems when they come.
Nowadays, the tech issues we face no longer just revolve around physical damage to our devices. We usually now face issues that pertain to our activities on the web, meaning we connect to the Internet when doing it. Since a lot of people now go to the web in pursuit of various activities, cybercriminals saw an opportunity arise from this increase in tech demand. They use malware and other bugs to infect our gadgets and steal our data or a times hold it hostage. What’s even more depressing is that they found a decades-old PC vulnerability that they can conveniently use to remotely access our devices and also steal sensitive information stored in our PCs without us knowing.
The exploits, the result of long-standing design flaws in chipsets, could allow malicious actors to access or steal sensitive data from devices or servers. However, as The Wall Street Journal notes, to take advantage of the vulnerabilities, hackers must run software on the CPUs of the devices they are targeting.
The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, a cybersecurity response center inside the Department of Homeland Security, said late Wednesday that it was aware of the two vulnerabilities. It encouraged users and system administrators to contact their software vendors for ways to patch them. CERT said it is not aware of any “active exploitation” of the bugs.
It is a rather difficult problem to overcome as the problem lies in the very design of the processor that runs all modern computers. Unless the processor design is changed, all computers and servers right now will remain vulnerable to phishing, malware attacks and what not. All computer users are at risk to this PC vulnerability even that of big computer servers used by big companies and even the ones that power the cloud. Spectre affects all PCs while Meltdown poses an urgent threat and no fix has been developed for Spectre just yet, which is really sad because roughly 90% of PCs used by individuals and businesses all run on Intel chips that are affected by this bug.
Researchers have discovered two major security flaws in microprocessors that affect virtually every modern computer, including mobile devices, personal computers, and servers running in cloud computer networks. The first, dubbed Meltdown, affects every CPU made by Intel since 1995. According to the NY Times, Intel processors are used in more than 90 per cent of the computer servers that underpin the internet and private business operations. To fix Meltdown, Microsoft, Apple, and the community that oversees the open-source Linux are working to push out updates that would fix the problem, but reports indicate that could slow the performance of computers by up to 30 per cent. The second flaw, called Spectre, is a flaw in the design that has been used by processor manufacturers for decades, meaning it affects CPUs created from Intel, AMD, and ARM designs – which is to say virtually all of them. According to researchers who discovered the flaw, Meltdown is an urgent crisis while Spectre affects virtually every processor. Currently there is no fix for Spectre, and we may not see one until a new generation of processors is released with a re-design. As for personal computers used by consumers, hackers would still have to first find a way onto your device, so we must maintain constant vigilance when downloading software in an email or app store, or when visiting an infected website.
Tech companies are now scrambling to make a patch for these vulnerabilities to somehow lessen the extent of the damage especially that the glitch is embedded on the computer processor itself and not just a software or an application that we can live without. For now, the best counter-measure for this issue is to ensure your device’s software is always updated and that you refrain from accessing suspicious sites or opening dubious emails to prevent introducing the malware into your system. We’ll just have to wait for the time when computer makers have made a new chip design that will power the computers of the future.
And since we are still in the midst of this computing crisis, better educate yourself on how you can overcome possible data loss problems in the unfortunate instance you find yourself a victim of either Spectre or Meltdown. RAID 5 data recovery can come to your rescue when this happens. At least you can be sure you are not paying more than you should be and still get quality service in return.