What the Tech? Major computer security risk
It is rare when there's a security flaw that affects virtually every desktop and laptop computer, smartphone and other mobile device.
It is rare when there's a security flaw that affects virtually every desktop and laptop computer,
smartphone and other mobile device. The latest, discovered just a few days ago, is that risk.
Dubbed "Meltdown" and "Spectre", the risk is not a cyber-threat but rather a flaw or security hole
affecting computer chips. Processing chips are the brains of the computer and are made by
Intel, AMD and ARM. In this case, there is an apparent risk that hackers could gain access to a
remote computer or device as the computer processes information.
The Department of Homeland Security issued this warning on the vulnerabilities Wednesday.
For most of us, understanding what's happening is less important than understanding what to do
without computers and devices.
Windows, Apple, Google and the chip makers quickly issued security updates in hopes of fixing
If you're a Windows user and haven't gotten a prompt to update, reboot your computer when
you go to bed tonight. As it restarts, Windows will check for any updates and install them. If you
still don't see a prompt to update, check the website of your anti-virus program.
Some anti-virus programs have issued updates but some still have not. Microsoft will not install
the security update on any computer running 3rd party anti-virus software that has not been
updated itself. Initially, there were reports that the update was causing the dreaded "Blue Screen
of Death" on computers running anti-virus software that wasn't updated to handle the latest
In short, this is not a security concern to ignore. While there's been no confirmation of the flaw
being used by hackers to gain access to a computer, those hackers just learning of it are surely
trying to take advantage of the vulnerability.