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Spectre and Meltdown – The low down.

All the major tech players including Google, Apple and Microsoft, have at this stage released updates for the security flaws that are present in computers, mobile devices and tablets.

The vulnerabilities (Spectre and Meltdown) were reported by IT security researchers at Google, Graz University and Cyberus Technology. The bug in the hardware allows programs to steal data which is currently processed on the system. Typically software programs are not permitted to read data that belong to other processes, but a malicious program can exploit Spectre and Meltdown to get hold of valuable information such as passwords stored in a browser such as Internet Explorer and Chrome, emails and personal photos.

Meltdown effects all Intel processors shipped since 2005 and possible but unconfirmed other chip manufacturers. Spectre is more wide-ranging impacting cloud servers, desktops, laptops and phones and is more difficult to exploit.

Microsft has release updates, but there are reports that the updates are not playing nicely with anti-virus software leading to BSOD crashes. It is recommended that you update your AV (Anti-Virus) software before applying the patch.

Google has issued updates to its Android devices and Apple claims that all iOS and MAC systems are vulnerable so it has released iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2 and tvOS 11.2 to defend against attacks.

Reports are also surfacing of an up to 30% hit on performance after applying the update, however, benchmarking website Tom’s hardware say preliminary tests are indicating there is very little performance regression in most systems worldwide.

Jon.ie recommends that you check your devices for updates and apply them if available immediately if you have not already done so.

Windows 10:

To check for updates now, select the Start button, and then go to Settings > Update & security > Windows Update, and select Check for updates. If Windows Update says your device is up to date, you have all the updates that are currently available.

MAC:

To check for Mac software updates, open the App Store app on your Mac. Click Updates in the App Store toolbar, then use the Update buttons to download and install any updates listed. Updates installed in the last 30 days appear below this list.

Andriod:

1. Open the Settings app.
2. Tap About device at the bottom of the menu.
3. Tap System updates.
4. Tap Check for update.
5. Tap Download if an update is available.
6. Tap Install after the update finishes downloading.

iOS devices:

1.Plug your device into power and connect to the Internet with Wi-Fi.
2.Tap Settings > General > Software Update.
3.Tap Download and Install. If a message asks to temporarily remove apps because iOS needs more space for the update, tap Continue or Cancel. Later, iOS will reinstall apps that it removed.
4.To update now, tap Install. Or you can tap Later and choose Install Tonight or Remind Me Later. If you tap Install Tonight, just plug your iOS device into power before you go to sleep. Your device will update automatically overnight.
5.If asked, enter your passcode.

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