Meltdown-Spectre: What does it mean to me and what is being done about it?

January 9, 2018
UNAPEN, UNAPEN 25th Anniversary

Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery & CyberSecurity

Prior, Proper, Planning

Cyber Security and Data protection with ITComplete,  ITComplete DataSafe  and ITComplete NetScan from UNAPEN

Article by Kenneth Rode, Director of IT Services at UNAPEN, Inc.

I am sure at least most of you have heard that there is a new sensational security flaw that is going to end the world as we know it! Seriously, it is a considerable issue that does effect just about every PC and Server as well as some other devices. 

However, there are currently no known exploits in the wild and hardware and software vendors such as Intel and Microsoft working on fixes. In addition, Security Vendors such as Trend Micro and SonicWALL are working on protections to hopefully detect and block any zero-day exploits.

One thing we don’t want to do is panic and actually cause problems needlessly. Due to the publicity of this event, even Microsoft has succumbed to releasing updates before they are ready; causing certain PCs to crash and then having to recall the patch. 

Please rest assured that we are monitoring the situation closely and we are testing updates on internal machines as they are released. Once we have a good level of confidence in what is available, it will be rolled out to our managed services clients. 

Basic tips for everyone are the same ones you should be following even when security is not in the news:

1.) Purchase, install and monitor a reputable Anti-Malware product.

We use Trend Micro within our managed services but there are many others available that are also good.

2.) Think about what you are opening in email and Internet Searches. 

Attachments or Links that you are not expecting or that raise any questions need to be verified through another means before they are accessed.

3.) Make sure your systems are kept up to date…..

especially if your operating system is pre-Windows 10. 

Macs also need to be kept up to date….contrary to old adages which weren’t even true in the past.

4.) In addition to your operating system, make sure your hardware is up to date. 

HP, Dell and other manufacturers now typically have software installed on your machine to help with this. For older systems and other manufacturers, check the support page on their web site for drivers and firmware……but exercise caution as incorrect installation could cause significant problems. 

If you need to manually select and install drivers and firmware, and are not comfortable with that, I would strongly recommend finding someone to help.