How Does The Vulnerabilities of Intel Affect Your Computer?
Rumors had been flying around cybersecurity circles at the turn of the year about a vulnerability affecting computers running Intel chips. As Forbes reported earlier this week, some feared the issue would leave millions on millions of computers vulnerable to snooping, whilst others fretted the fix would slow down PCs dramatically, due to the dramatic changes required to fix the problem. And now researchers have revealed it could really be as widespread and severe as feared.
Dubbed Meltdown, the flaw allowed a hacker to read information from applications' memory at the kernel level, a space deep down in the operating system that's core to the functioning of everything on a computer. Passwords, photos, documents and other sensitive data could all be read by an attacker.
It's been noted that "virtually every user of a personal computer" in the world was affected either by Meltdown or a related issue they named Spectre, and that the entire memory contents of a vulnerable PC could be surveilled. Typically computers should separate one application from reading information passing through the kernel. But with Meltdown, that isolation is broken, so one program can read another's memory in the kernel without permission. As the researchers noted: "The bug basically melts security boundaries which are normally enforced by the hardware."
-Allyson White, CEO Alde Security Solutions, LLC.