Two vulnerabilities have come to light thanks to Google that affects “every processor since 1995”. Their names are ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ and we should be worried.
Google stated that the two bugs can be exploited to steal data which is currently being processed on the computer, which can include highly sensitive information such as passwords (if stored in a password manager or browser), photos, emails, instant messages and business documents!
Google described the two attacks as follows:
Meltdown breaks the most fundamental isolation between user applications and the operating system. This attack allows a program to access the memory, and thus also the secrets, of other programs and the operating system.
Spectre breaks the isolation between different applications. It allows an attacker to trick error-free programs, which follow best practices, into leaking their secrets. In fact, the safety checks of said best practices actually increase the attack surface and may make applications more susceptible to Spectre.
“Spectre is harder to exploit than Meltdown, but it is also harder to mitigate.”
For more information on both attacks and to find some patches that will hopefully help quell them, click here.