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The Bug Everyone’s Talking About - The Intel Bug

Topics: Harmony, IT services, Managed Service Provider

Meltdown, Specter, The Intel Bug.

There is a good chance you have heard about the bug everyone's talking about as most tech people are quite concerned. Despite the various names above, these are actually the same issue. The questions that are buzzing around now are plentiful, but we will stick to the main few. What is this bug? What does this bug affect?  What steps can be taken to avoid this it?

The intel bug

The simple explanation is that the bug is an exploit that allows programs to access data that they should not have access to. This could include things like passwords, emails, and other data you probably do not want malicious people to see. The slightly more complex explanation is that your computer does something called speculative execution. This is where it can run code slightly out of order to increase overall efficiency. Your computer also has something called the kernel which monitors and controls the computer. This can store important data but normally prevents other code from reading the data it stores. However, using speculative execution in a certain way, the bug allows one to get around the kernel’s security and read data stored on it.

While everyone waits for software fixes to get rolled out, the best way to protect your computers is still the same as it has been. Keep everything updated, have a good antivirus program (we recommend Sophos), and do not download things that seem suspicious. One last thing you may be asking is how this will affect your computer’s performance. Since the bug is directly linked to speculative execution and its used to increase efficiency, patching it out will mean some slow down. Luckily those making the fixes are telling us that the slowdown will not be significant or even noticeable.

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Picture of Mark Nash
Posted by Mark Nash on Jan 10, 2018 4:11:00 PM