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Now that some of the dust is settling surrounding the discovery of two critical design flaws in computer chips running inside a huge number of devices, we can start looking for ways to protect ourselves.
There’s one thing to keep in mind, however: You have to update your operating system, the chip inside your computer, as well as your web browser. You can’t just pick one, as it won’t fully protect you against the bugs.
Still, it’s likely that some people with a poor track record of updating their PCs won’t take the proper measures. If you know someone who puts off updating their PCs, make sure to show them these steps!
There’s been some speculation regarding the updates that will protect PC users against these bugs and a potential impact on performance of their PCs. Little is known so far, but Intel states that the impacts won’t be significant and will be “mitigated over time.”
See how to protect your PC against “Meltdown” and “Spectre”:
1. Update your Windows PC.
Patching up your PC against “Meltdown” and “Spectre” will involve updating Windows 10.
It’s possible that Windows’ update feature already automatically downloaded and installed the patch, but you may need to restart your computer to finalize the patch.
Either way, you’d do well to check whether any updates are available for your PC. In Windows 10, click the search bar on the bottom left > type “Update” > click “Check for Updates > click “Check for updates” again the the Windows Update menu.
If Windows is showing that it’s already downloaded the update, follow the prompts on the screen. It could tell you to install or restart your computer.
If you’re using a third-party anti-virus program, you may not be able to install the patch yet.
The bug involves the same sensitive PC parts that anti-virus programs monitor for unusual or malicious activities. As a result, Microsoft’s patch may not be compatible with your third-party anti-virus program. If that’s the case, you’ll have to wait for your anti-virus vendor to release its own update before Microsoft’s update becomes available.
I wouldn’t disable your anti-virus program so you can download Microsoft’s update, as it may not be compatible with the update when you turn the anti-virus program back on.
I myself haven’t been able to download Microsoft’s update as I’m using a third-party anti-virus program called “Webroot,” which hasn’t been updated yet.
2. Download any other updates from your PC’s manufacturer.
Apart from the Windows operating system, the Intel chips inside your computer will also need to be updated with new firmware. For chip updates, you’ll need to download and install updates that come directly from the manufacturer of your PC.
Manufacturer updates will come in Microsoft’s Windows Update feature. If you’re unsure about how to install their updates, your best bet is to contact your PC’s manufacturer.
3. Make sure your web browser gets updates.
Web browsers would play a big role for attackers looking to exploit the recent chip bug, and browser developers are issuing updates.
Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox web browser, has begun rolling out updates, as well as Microsoft for its Internet Explorer and Edge browsers. Google is including a patch for the bug in its upcoming update that will roll out on January 23. Apple plans on rolling out an update soon for its Safari web browser.
Some may have browser updates enabled automatically, but those updates may require you to close and re-open your browser. Check your browser’s settings to see if it’s up to date and whether you need to restart your browser.
Apple computers have already been partially updated, and more updates will be released over time.
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Apple already began protecting its computers and users against the potentially harrowing effects of “Meltdown” with updates through the Mac App Store. Be on the lookout for additional updates from Apple for fixes against the “Spectre” bug.
At L Technology Group, we know technology alone will not protect us from the risks associated with in cyberspace. Hackers, Nation States like Russia and China along with “Bob” in HR opening that email, are all real threats to your organization. Defending against these threats requires a new strategy that incorporates not only technology, but also intelligent personnel who, eats and breaths cybersecurity. Together with proven processes and techniques combines for an advanced next-generation security solution. Since 2008 L Technology Group has develop people, processes and technology to combat the ever changing threat landscape that businesses face day to day.
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