The news that flaws in Intel, AMD and ARM chips could expose hundreds of millions of people's personal data to security breaches from hackers is certainly alarming.
All computers with Intel chips from the last 10 years could be affected, with about 80 per cent of new PCs and 90 per cent of laptops carrying Intel processors.
Beyond the headlines
However, beyond the headlines there are several things to be kept in mind:
- The vulnerability has been known about for several months
- It has been deliberately kept quiet so the precise information required to exploit the flaw is not yet in the hands of attackers
- Operating system vendors are developing patches to protect against the vulnerability
- ARM says it has already shared patches with customers to fix the problem, and said it thought there was no risk to customers
What can you do?
Vendors are issuing updates to patch the vulnerabilities.
- Apple iPhones, iPads and Mac computers are all vulnerable to the major processor flaws but updates are already available and should be applied automatically
- Microsoft has issued an update for Windows 10 and updates for Windows 7 and Windows 8 are set to be released in a few days.
- If you are running Windows and your operating system is set to update automatically these updates will happen when you turn your computer on or off
- If not, you will have to apply the update manually
- BullGuard is fully compatible and supports these Windows updates so no action is required from your side
- If the updates need to be applied manually and you forget to do so BullGuard will remind you
What about my computer’s performance?
There are reports that applying updates can slow down a computer by as much as 30%
- However, this is likely to be a ‘worst case’ scenario affecting computers that are relatively old and running resource intensive workloads such as graphics programmes
- Newer computers, and even older ones running average workloads, are unlikely to be affected, so performance will most likely continue as normal