February 19, 2018

What Your Business Needs To Know About Meltdown And Spectre

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When running a business, life is busy. You have to constantly monitor and analyse the performance of the business, as well as focus on the actual operations and productivity of the core business model. Many business owners experience high stress levels as a result of juggling these different requirements; if you’re in the same position, the last thing you need is an unexpected concern.

Yet here we are, with 2018 only just begun, and business owners (and the world at large) are facing an unexpected shock: it has emerged there are huge security flaws in the chips used in the vast majority of computers and related devices across the world.

What’s happened?

Reports were published in January that announced that flaws had been found in almost every processor chip currently in use. The flaws were named “Meltdown” and “Spectre”; they are similar, but slightly different in how they could be used by hackers.

Meltdown and Spectre can essentially be used to control a device and access sensitive information, so the threat from these vulnerabilities is very serious.

Will this affect my business’ equipment?

Yes, almost certainly. Experts are clear: these vulnerabilities impact nearly every computer currently in use. It is incredibly unlikely your business does not use devices that rely on the chips that are affected.

What can I do about it?

If you use outsourced IT management solutions for your business, then you can assume that your management company have already addressed this the issue. If you self-manage, then you will want to install the security patches that can close the vulnerabilities down. These are being issued by operating systems as standard updates, so run a check on all your tech to see if any updates are pending.

Anything else I can do to secure my business systems?

It is thought that malware that exploits the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities is already circulating, so now is the time to shore up the anti-virus and anti-malware defences of your business computers.

You may also want to consider scanning existing devices for malware that may already have made its way onto your computer.

If you have managed IT systems, it’s likely this kind of protection will already have been initiated. However, there’s no harm in checking, and running scans on the devices that you personally use. With a threat of this size, being overly-cautious is probably a good idea.

Why did this happen?

No one knows; it’s something of a mystery how vulnerabilities so widespread can have been allowed to happen. The importance now is on repairing the vulnerabilities via updates and limiting the damage as much as possible.

In conclusion

Meltdown and Spectre have to be treated seriously, but the important thing to note is that the flaw was found and patches have been issued. Install the patches, bolster your anti-virus and anti-malware protection, and you should be able to continue your business as usual.

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