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Meltdown & Spectre - Steps to take to patch computers?


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#1 Rudy5

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 06:41 AM

Hello.

 

I'm a bit worried about many systems. For instance, my mom has laptop with Windows 8.1, my father has a PC with Windows 8.1 as well, and also bought a new computer yesterday with Windows 10.

 

Figured I had to do some check for the Meltdown and Spectre viruses, so I ran the inSpectre tool on my dad's new PC. Turns out his PC isn't Spectre protected. It seems Windows can only patch the Meltdown virus.

 

Now that got me thinking about my own 2 PCs and laptop, the computers of my brother and sister and friends, etc. 

 

If Spectre can only be patched with updating BIOS and UEFI (not sure what the latter one is) then a huge amounts of people all over the world are at risk! Because I don't even know how to patch it myself, let alone that my parents would need to patch it.

 

So anyway. Down to the main question; what are the steps to follow to protect your computer from Spectre?

 

How do I know if my system needs a patch? What do I do to patch it? Isn't updating your BIOS a risky undertaking? I know I've never done it before.

 

I did some searching on the web, and all I find are news posts, forum posts with no real answer or generic Microsoft 'help' pages suffed with outbound links.

 

I wonder why no one has made any step by step process to follow to patch your system.. or did I miss something?

 

I also read something that your Antivirus needs to be 'ready' to be able to receive updates for the Meltdown patch. And if not, you'd need to edit the registry, as if that isn't a risky undertaking either!

 

Sorry if I sound a bit ranting, I just can't believe that something this vulnerable hasn't seen any easy solutions yet. Or is the risk overrated?

 

I've got a laptop with Windows Vista, a PC with Windows 7, a PC with Windows 8.1. I guess I better never start up that laptop again since Vista is no longer supported. 

 

As for Antivirus, mainly used are AVG and Comodo.

 

Anyway, any one know of a reasonably easy to follow 'step by step' article or post so I can protect the systems against Spectre (and Meltdown if necessary)?

 

Thanks so much!

 

- R



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#2 jarlmaster47

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 11:17 AM

I really wouldn't worry too much about it. While it's nothing to sneeze at, and Intel/OEM responses to patching this have been downright pitiful, you and your parents are unlikely to be targeted. Furthermore, no one has actually used this exploit in an attack on a computer. 
 

Fun fact: Intel is currently facing 32 lawsuits over this. Their laziness and complacency in micro-architecture security is killing them. 



#3 Rudy5

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 11:43 AM

Thanks for your reply.

 

I wonder though how one would catch the virus/exploit on their computer. I mean I do download stuff, from legitimate sites, but you never know what could be hidden in the file. I do usually scan what I download first.

 

32 lawsuits huh? That doesn't seem like much, but I assume these are class-action or from big corporations?

 

Anyway thanks for your help.

 

- R



#4 jarlmaster47

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 12:11 PM

Apparently you can't catch the exploit. Nothing logs those changes. AV and AM programs are quite good at catching suspicious activity, suspicious files, etc. automatically before they can do any damage. Avast has a behavior shield that specifically looks for abnormally behaving applications. There's a very good chance that AV and AM would catch a meltdown/spectre attack and stop it. 
 

32 lawsuits is a ton. 30 customer class-action suits and 2 securities class-action suits. I highly doubt Intel fights any of them in court. They'll settle but it's going to be a sum that hurts. Intel will brush it off but it hurts investor confidence and hurts their reputation. I'm glad they're being taken down a peg. Intel finally has some competition from AMD and now they're getting bitten in the ass by their complacency in microarchitecture security. 






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