You may have already heard about a serious flaw in computer chips that is affecting both Windows and Apple equipment. In the past few weeks, the main story in the technology and computer field has been about two potentially serious vulnerabilities that have been identified—namely, Spectre and Meltdown.  Spectre affects chips from AMD and Arm, while Meltdown affects Intel chips. Despite these very ominous sounding names, there is still not a lot of information available as to what kind of realistic risks these vulnerabilities pose.

As of now, there are no known instances where either of these has resulted in a breach to computer security. The only apparent issue that has been detected is some “performance hits” that could result in a slowdown. However, this seems to be minimal and should not affect overall performance.

Many of the microchip companies that have been affected have either issued patches or are in the process of finalizing patches that will close the vulnerabilities. They will continue to work on these, and the entire process should be finalized in the coming weeks. Microsoft and Apple are also taking these threats very seriously and have addressed this problem in patches to their operating systems.

This does not mean, however, that the problem is fixed. This problem affects virtually every computer on the market—be it a Windows or Mac, laptop or desktop. Even some cell phones and tablets could be vulnerable depending on the type of processing chip used in the device. The design flaw has been there for years, but no one was aware of it until recently. This flaw could allow hackers access to the data stored in your computer’s memory. They could steal your passwords, business data, and emails.

In order to do this, the computer would have to have a malware program installed on it. To prevent this flaw from being exploited, it’s important to be cautious online. Don’t open strange, unsolicited emails,click links from someone whose identity is not clear, or install programs from websites that might have Trojan viruses embedded in them.

If anything, this new threat should also serve as a reminder of why it is so important to regularly update your software. Staying one step ahead of the bad guys is the best way to protect yourself and your company. You can contact New Edge Technology Solutions to assist you in designing and implementing a complete information security plan—to include on-going testing and training as threats evolve.