How to Prevent Spectre and Meltdown CPU Flaw Attack

1 Introduction

Meltdown and Spectre

Two major security issues affecting nearly all computers and many mobile devices was recently discovered. The CPU vulnerabilities, called "Meltdown" and "Spectre", potentially allows rogue software or an attacker to access private information located in memory, including but not limited to passwords, open browser tabs/windows, and programs that you may be using on your computer.

Many proof-of-concept attacks have been created using these two security vulnerabilities, but none have been seen in-use by intentionally malicious software yet.

Fortunately, tech companies have rushed to patch these vulnerabilities, and your device may already be protected. We will help you to identify whether or not your device is protected, and if not, how to apply the appropriate update (if available).

? Which device(s) are you concerned about?

  1. Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad)
  2. Apple Mac Devices (MacBook, iMac, etc)
  3. Windows 10 PCs and Tablets
  4. Android devices (Smartphones, Tablets)

We're here to help!

Connect to a Tech Pro

Call or chat with a Tech Pro 24/7.

Meltdown and Spectre

Two major security issues affecting nearly all computers and many mobile devices was recently discovered. The CPU vulnerabilities, called "Meltdown" and "Spectre", potentially allows rogue software or an attacker to access private information located in memory, including but not limited to passwords, open browser tabs/windows, and programs that you may be using on your computer.

Many proof-of-concept attacks have been created using these two security vulnerabilities, but none have been seen in-use by intentionally malicious software yet.

Fortunately, tech companies have rushed to patch these vulnerabilities, and your device may already be protected. We will help you to identify whether or not your device is protected, and if not, how to apply the appropriate update (if available).

All iOS devices are affected by this vulnerability, however Apple has released an update in iOS 11.2 that mitigates the security flaw, which you likely already have installed. Apple will continue to refine their patching of this bug, so it is important to regularly check for updates.

To check which version of iOS is installed on your device, use the following steps.

  1. Open Settings on your phone or tablet.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select General.
    iOS Settings with General highlighted.
  3. Select Software Update to see if there’s an update available.
    General with Software Update highlighted.
  4. Make sure Automatic Updates is set to On, and that your software is up to date.
    iOS Up-To-Date with Automatic Updates highlighted.
  5. If there is an update available, ensure that you plug your iOS device into power before proceeding. 
  6. Select Download and Install. You may have to Select Install a second time. If prompted, enter your passcode.
Apple has released an update in macOS 10.13.2 that mitigates this security vulnerability. Apple will continue to refine their patching of this bug, so it is important to regularly check for updates. If you have not already done so, we recommend that you configure Automatic Updates and check for updates.
For the best security, we recommend keeping all apps and the operating system up to date.

macOS Operating System

  1. Open the Apple menu, and select System Preferences.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Software Update.
    Software Update Preferences
  3. Any updates for the macOS Operating System will be shown here. Make sure Automatically keep my Mac up to date is checked.
    Software Update Preferences with Automatically keep my Mac up to date.

Apps

  1. Select the Apple Menu, then App Store.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with App Store highlighted.
  2. Select the App Store menu, then Preferences.
    App Store Menu with Preferences highlighted.
  3. Make sure Automatic Updates is checked.
    App Store Preferences with Automatic Updates highlighted

MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air must have the power adapter plugged in to automatically download updates.

  1. Select the Apple menu, then App Store.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with App Store highlighted.
  2. You will now see the app store pull up. Select Updates.
    macOS 10.14 Mojave or LaterApp Store side bar with Updates highlighted.
    macOS 10.13 High Sierra or EarlierApp store menu bar with Updates highlighted.
Any version of macOS 10.7 (Lion) or older can check for available updates through the Apple Menu and Software Updates.

Microsoft has issued an emergency security update to supported versions of Windows as of January 3rd, 2018. If you have not already done so, we recommend that you configure Automatic Updates and check for updates.

  1. Open the Start menu and select Settings.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Settings
  2. Select Update and Security.
    Updates and Security Settings
  3. Select Windows Update on the left, then select Check for updates.
    Update and Security with Windows Update and Check for updates highlighted.
  4. Once the system has finished checking for updates, it will automatically download and install the latest applicable updates.
  5. The system also may prompt you to restart, if it does, please do so at your earliest convenience, otherwise the update process will not complete.

    If you system was already recently updated, chances are that no further updates are available and your Update status will indicate: Your device is up to date.

Google released an update in early January, 2018 that will help mitigate issues with Meltdown. If you have an Android phone that is Google branded (Pixel 2, Nexus 5X, etc), you will get the update as soon as it is available, automatically.

It will take longer for non-Google branded devices to receive this update. We suggest periodically checking to see if an update has been published for your Android device.

Android OS updates offer system enhancements and bug fixes that can improve the user experience. The Android OS can be updated manually by following the next steps.

Before proceeding with a system update, make sure that the battery level of your device is sufficient. This is best done while the battery level is at least 80%, or better when plugged in to the power outlet.

  1. Open Settings on your phone or tablet.
    Android Settings.
  2. Scroll to the bottom, and select About.
    Settings with About phone highlighted.
  3. Select System update.
    Status with System update highlighted.
  4. You'll see if there's any updates available, as well as when your device last checked for updates. If you wish, you can choose Check for update to make sure.
    Updates with Check for update highlighted.
  5. If an update is available, you can download and install it here.
    Do not turn off your phone during an update, it can result in serious problems that would require a qualified technician to fix.
We use cookies on our website to enhance your experience, analyze site usage and support our marketing efforts. To learn more, visit our Privacy Policy. By clicking “Accept”, you agree to our use of cookies and similar technologies.
Accept