MeltdownSpectre-300x200 Protecting Your Computer from CPU FlawsIf you’ve been an ATB client for any period of time, you already know that we generally recommend staying current with all updates and patches to protect your computers’ vulnerabilities. However, when it comes to two current CPU flaws known as Spectre and Meltdown, you may want to seek professional IT advice before making any updates to “fix” these issues.

The underlying issue here is that both Meltdown and Spectre represent hardware-level flaws. Unlike software-based problems, which are relatively easy to fix with a downloadable patch, these architectural vulnerabilities can only be completely fixed by replacing the physical storage hardware.

As a workaround, operating systems, web browsers, and chip firmware providers have released software patches and recommended configuration changes which are designed to limit or remove access to specific CPU storage pathways. But it should be emphasized that these don’t actually address the underlying problem.

Furthermore, while these software patches can be easily found and installed, it isn’t clear yet whether their benefits outweigh the potential “side effects.” Especially for Windows and Linux-based computer systems, many users who have installed the software patches have reported a significant slowdown in processing time, as well as unexpected freezing and rebooting of the computer in question. The issue does also impact Apple computers, but at this time fewer problems have been reported with macOS patches.

As such, we are encouraging our clients to reach out to the team at ATB so we can help determine whether the existing patches will conflict with your current setup and then either install them for you (to ensure it is done properly) or help devise an alternate risk mitigation strategy that doesn’t cause your computer performance to suffer.

And if you’re not yet part of the ATB family, contact us to schedule a free consultation session to learn more about how our IT security and disaster recovery services can help your business thrive even in a world full of technology-related threats.

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