There is never a dull moment in the world of cyber security.
- WannaCry, Petya, Not Petya, became household names
- 143 million personal records containing highly sensitive information leaked in a data breach at Equifax
- Yahoo revealed that every single email account, (3 billion in total), were impacted by the 2013 data breach
- Microsoft was compelled to release security patches for Windows XP and Windows server 2003 to mitigate risks presented by the EternalBlue exploits
2018 brings new challenges, including the security flaws dubbed Meltdown and Spectre. On January 3, 2018, Forbes.com published an article entitled, “Massive Intel Vulnerabilities Have Just Landed -- and Every PC User on the Planet May Need to Update.” While initially the security flaws were thought to affect only Intel Chips, it was discovered that chips manufactured by AMD and ARM were also potentially vulnerable.
MELTDOWN: Meltdown is the name of the exploit whereby a hardware bug allows malicious programs to steal data that is being processed in your computer memory. Normally, applications are not able to do that because they are isolated from each other and the operating system. Meltdown breaks that isolation.
SPECTRE: Spectre is the exploit that allows hackers to get malicious software running on your computer. It allows hackers to obtain access to your passwords stored in a password manager or browser, your emails, instant messages, and even business-critical documents.
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What your business can do about this
Your IT professionals should update and patch all workstations on your network. Make sure your service providers in the cloud have issued assurances that relevant patches and updates are being deployed to mitigate the risks posed by these vulnerabilities.
What can you do?
- Ensure that you have antivirus protection on your personal computers with the latest updates AND that your antivirus application is compatible with the patches being offered by Microsoft and Apple
- Ensure that your personal Windows/Apple workstations have the latest updates and security patches applied
- Update your Firefox and Chrome web browsers on your personal computers to the latest version
- Most importantly – always THINK before you CLICK and when in DOUBT Throw it OUT
For more on cyber threats visit the MagMutual Learning Center.