Meltdown and Spectre: Why no computer is safe

There isn't a single software program in the world that could have stopped Meltdown and Spectre from affecting your devices.

That's because the cybersecurity vulnerabilities were flaws inherent to Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) chips. The impact turned every laptop, computer or phone using either of the organizations' chips into a potential liability. It also served as a reminder that even the most comprehensive cybersecurity strategies can have gaps in protection and that you should consistently look to improve them.

It's all in the details

Although there isn't any conclusive evidence that Meltdown and Spectre have been exploited by hackers, the defects were found on every Intel and AMD chip manufactured over the past two decades, according to CSO Online. The two names are attributed to the different ways in which the vulnerability could be accessed, and what devices they are associated with.

Meltdown impacts every laptop, computer and network server that was built with an Intel chip and allows criminals to read the system's memory, Newsweek reported. Microsoft, Apple and Linux are all working on operating system updates that can stop the flaw from being exploited.

Spectre affects smartphones and laptops and could allow hackers to breach applications on a user's device to gain access to their personal information, according to Newsweek. The issue with the potential patches to fix this vulnerability is that they would hinder performance considerably.

Takeaways from Meltdown and Spectre

These system defects are being labelled as technological catastrophes by cybersecurity academia and it's easy to see why - not only does this affect individual users, but most companies as well. It's not something an anti-virus program would have picked up and was largely unavoidable, but it does serve as a reminder that risks can come from where you least expect them.

Unified threat management platforms are becoming increasingly valuable as they allow organizations to evaluate a wide range of vulnerabilities. They combine a variety of conventional tools like a firewall and anti-virus, with data from virtual private networks (VPN) and other traffic on the network to analyze and report on threats in real-time.

The wide range of risks that businesses must deal with has evolved over the past few years, from ransomware to Meltdown and Spectre. It's time to give your IT staff the tools they need to protect the company from malicious activities. Contact a NetFortris representative today to learn more.

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