CPU Flaw - Meltdown and Spectre
As you have likely seen in media coverage over the last week, there has been a lot of information and speculative reporting on 2 CPU design flaws called Meltdown and Spectre. The flaws affect almost every form of electronic device with an Intel, AMD, ARM or IBM CPU, and the list appear to be growing. This is everything from an Apple or Android smart phone, any laptop, desktop, server, networking equipment, the list goes on...
These exploits have been a known issue for an extensive period of time and vendors are only just now being forced to address.
Both vulnerabilities are hardware design flaws, and the software security patches being released by various vendors do not fix these flaws, but are designed to make it more difficult to exploit these vulnerabilities.
It is important to note that to date, there have been no reports of these vulnerability being exploited. Having said that, due to the recent media coverage, most experts believe it is only a matter of time before cybercriminals use this to their advantage.
To help protect against this, users should:
- Be on the lookout to recognize and report malicious phishing emails.
- look for anything not addressed to you specifically. If it is a legitimate email they will usually address you properly, NOT as Dear Customer.
- not just click on those links to external addresses. If you're unsure about an email, hover your mouse over any links you see in the body of the message (just whatever you do don't click it!). Next, look at the lower left corner of your browser or email client. You should see the exact address of the link you're hovering over. Be careful all it takes is one letter to be off and the link can take you somewhere you don’t want to be. If your still unsure contact the helpdesk!
- be careful of attachments. All messages and attachments inbound are scanned by multiple scanners, but this does not always protect you. A virus could be hidden in a photo.jpg, word.doc or excel.xls file etc. Once you open the file code executes in the background and infects the system. Ultimately you the users have to decide if the risk is worth it or not to open that file. For fully managed clients we have put everything in place we can to protect and when files are opened they are scanned also, but NOT all can be detected or stopped once opened. Without opening the file in email, save it to the computer desktop, and then right click on the file and select "Scan with Webroot." If the file reports OK then we have done all that we can to mitigate if the file is good or bad.
- Ensure your systems are on and available during scheduled maintenance windows that we have established for you.
What we are doing for our Fully Managed clients:
- We are monitoring your systems and networks for any unusual activity and drastic changes to system files etc.
- We are staying up to date with the information from vendors as it is released.
- We will be applying and updating systems with the software patches as they are released and tested.
As always if there are questions or concerns please feel free to contact our team.