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Meltdown and Spectre fixes cause problems

Meltdown and Spectre fixes cause problems

Meltdown and Spectre fixes cause problems

It’s been three weeks since one of the worst IT security vulnerabilities in history was announced, and consumers are still receiving mixed messages about how to protect themselves. We usually encourage users to install software updates as often as possible, but when it comes to Meltdown and Spectre, that advice comes with an asterisk.

Unsecured data storage

Spectre and Meltdown are the names given to two hardware flaws that allow hackers to see any piece of information stored on your computer. Although slightly different in execution, both take advantage of a hardware feature that computer chips use to access and store private information. For the last 20 years, security experts believed this information could not be stolen or spied on by malicious software, but that assumption was proven false on January 3, 2018.

Now that the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities are public information, hackers can use them to create programs that steal passwords, social security numbers, credit card numbers, and anything else you type into your computer.

Because these problems are hardware-based, none of the updates will be able to secure the vulnerable storage; they’ll simply prevent your computer from storing anything in it. Currently, there are patches for:

  • Operating systems (Windows, macOS, and Linux)
  • Web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, and IE)
  • Chip firmware (low-level programs installed on the processor itself)

If you’re using an Apple computer, these updates are relatively easy to install. If you’re using a Windows or Linux-based computer, these patches may cause your machine to freeze, reboot unexpectedly, or significantly slow down.

Why should I wait to install the updates?

Intel, one of the chipmakers responsible for the Spectre and Meltdown flaws, has provided contradictory recommendations on more than one occasion. As recently as January 18, Intel recommended waiting for an updated patch, but in the same announcement also recommended “consumers to keep systems up-to-date.”

Experts believe detecting an attack that is based on one of these flaws will be relatively easy and represent an alternative to installing updates that could render your computer unusable.

What should I do?

IT support experts will be able to quickly and easily assess what is the best option for your computers. For example, our team can determine whether or not your hardware will conflict with the current patches, and either install them or set up a detection strategy that will help you mitigate the risks without ruining your computer.

If you need expert IT support for quick responses and ironclad security — give us a call today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Dropsuite:

Dropsuite is a cloud software platform enabling businesses and organizations globally to easily backup, recover and protect their important business information including emails, contacts, calendars and OneDrive/Sharepoint files. Compliant email backup and archive system with a 10-year retention policy.

Vade Secure:

Vade Secure is an AI-based email security solution to improve security for Office 365 and block advanced phishing, spear phishing, and advanced malware threats. Vade Secure analyzes emails, webpages, attachments, and images with machine learning and deep learning algorithms that are trained to detect behaviors and anomalies common to advanced email threats.

Office Protect:

Office Protect is a service that’s designed to help you secure your Microsoft 365 tenant. Using our powerful in-house security software, our analysts actively monitor for threats, investigate alerts, eliminate false positives, and provide guided response and remediation. Protects against account break-ins, data exfiltration, business email compromise, phishing, internal threats, lateral movement, ransomware, and attacks by nation states.

Dark Cubed:

Dark Cubed focuses on real-time monitoring, threat intelligence, predictive analytics, elegant dashboard, streamlined workflow, executive reporting and active blocking. This is another layer of security that integrates with the firewall.

ThreatLocker:

ThreatLocker is a zero-trust endpoint security tool giving companies control over what software can run, by whom, and what data can be accessed.

It keeps a full detailed audit of what applications are used and data accessed/transferred/deleted and by what users (signature tracking, etc.) If something unusual happens, such as a signature change, or a user opens an application that is out of their normal routine the administrator is alerted. This is a crucial tool in identifying malware threats, as well as helping organizations identify if users are accessing applications and/or data/ files they should not be.

ThreatLocker provides a solution that allows businesses to control the content that runs on their network. Unlike AntiVirus software ThreatLocker is not looking for known viruses or malware. ThreatLocker uses a complex set of rules to determine what can be executed on a network and stops anything that has not been approved before it can even execute.

Huntress:

Huntress is a supplement to SentinelOne. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated, and Huntress actively seeks out these threat actors with a "defend forward" mentality. This software combines both advanced security tools along with human intervention to ensure even the most advanced hackers can't penetrate your network.

SentinelOne:

SentinelOne is a comprehensive enterprise security platform that provides threat detection, hunting, and response features that enable organizations to discover vulnerabilities and protect IT operations. SentinelOne integrates static artificial intelligence (AI) to provide real-time endpoint protection and reduce false positives that derail investigations or make threat detection a capital-intensive process. This will replace Webroot in your current environment.