Meltdown and Spectre Security Flaws Explained

2019-07-16T20:02:28+00:00February 5th, 2018|Tags: , , |

Serious hardware bugs have recently been discovered to exist in almost all modern technology devices. Here’s what you need to know about Meltdown and Spectre. In early 2018, research revealed that there are fundamental security flaws in nearly every computer chip manufactured in the last 20 years. The variations of these flaws have been named Spectre and Meltdown. These vulnerabilities, if exploited, could allow attackers to gain access to data that was previously considered protected. So far there is no evidence of security breaches due to these flaws; however, such exploits would be difficult to detect. Spectre and Meltdown are so widespread and affect such fundamental components that they are being called catastrophic by security researchers. what are spectre and meltdown? Spectre and Meltdown are vulnerabilities that arose due to features that were built in to computer chips to help them run faster. Each works differently and effects different processors. Spectre utilizes what’s called speculative execution, a function that allows computer chips to process data faster by beginning to work with the data before it is actually told to do so. Imagine a calculator that can give you either a decimal or a percent of the answer to a given calculation, which before you have requested the output format you want has already calculated them both in order to answer faster. Spectre is exploited by sending a program bad data that the program begins to process before it has passed a security check, therefore tricking the program into sending private data. Spectre is hard [...]