Modern processors are not so safe. Security flaw has been discovered and your computer, phone or tablet could be accessed by online hackers. Your encryption keys, passwords and other information may not be anymore kept private which are stored in the so-called protected kernel memory of the device.
The newly found flaw is named as Spectre and Meltdown. It affect the chips from Arm as well as Intel. The architecture of processor from AMD has differences and so the company claims its chips are safe.
However, it is our responsibility to keep our data safe and below are some steps to take to protect yourself from online hackers:
Install emergency Windows patch
Microsoft has come up with out-of-band emergency patch for the users of Windows 10. Many of you may have noticed pop up asking to restart the machine to install the patch. If not, head to Settings > Update & security and check yourself for updates. The patch may be labeled as Security Update for Windows (KB4056892) if you are using Windows 10 version 1709 (Fall Creators Update).
Those who are using the previous versions of Windows 10 may see the patch numbers as below:
– Windows 10 version 1703 (Creators Update): KB4056891
– Windows 10 version 1607 (Anniversary Update): KB4056890
– Windows 10 version 1511 (November Update): KB4056888
– Windows 10 version 1507 (Initial Release): KB4056893
You can even install the patch manually if no update is available. Simply head to Windows Update Catalog page and install the file for x64-based systems if you are using a 64-bit version of the Windows. For the Fall Creators Update check label “2018-01 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1709 for x64-based Systems (KB4056892).”
How to know you are protected
Simply head to Settings > Update & security and thereafter click View installed update history to know whether your device is now protected. Look for Security Update for Windows (KB4056892) under Quality Updates. Even you can check by heading to Settings > System > About. You need to scroll down here to Windows specifications section. You will see the OS Build now reads 16299.125 if the patch is installed successfully.
Do know that the antivirus app may prevent receiving the patch as the case has been with McAfee. So a manual installation is recommended. It is suggested to follow the AV vendor. Even you can switch to Windows Defender.
This is something a hardware issue and so it is suggested to check with the vendor of your device for a firmware update.
What else to do
As of now no known attacks have taken place using the Meltdown or Spectre vulnerabilities. However, as the flaws are now made public, there are chances the online hackers may exploit those. So it is recommended to run a scan using AV app after the patch is installed successfully. It is even recommended to update your browser and beware of phishing emails. This way you can protect your PC, laptop, phone and tablet completely from getting accessed by unauthorized person.