Spooked by the Spectre of CPU Meltdown

Spooked by the Spectre of CPU Meltdown?  What do you need to know for your business?

There’s a ton of confusing information out there about the latest big security hole that affects every computer processor since practically the year 2000. Every computing device from your smartphone, your tablet, your computer and Internet of Thingy has this CPU flaw.

Yes, that includes Apple products.

What do you need to do to protect your business? What do you need to know? I will make this as simple as possible (with links to the more technical information).

Protect against CPU Meltdown and Spectre

Meltdown and Spectre are two different ways to exploit a weakness baked into computer processor units (CPUs). It affects Intel and AMD processors. It affects both Apple and Microsoft products.

Intel, AMD and all the computer vendors have released patches or will shortly. However the Microsoft patch is contingent on your antivirus vendor updating their software. And all of these various types of patches will mean rebooting your computer several times.

These are the patches you need to install as soon as possible:

  1. BIOS firmware
  2. antivirus software (if you’re running Windows)
  3. operating system updates

Bootnote: you need to be running the most recent versions of OS X to get the patch from Apple.

Impact on Your Business

The patches change how your CPU uses its resources. Most impacted are businesses running servers with databases (that includes accounting software). Anywhere from 5 to 30% slower CPU performance after this update.

For desktop users, the big hurt will be on older desktops with slower processors.

It’s not easy to go out and get a new CPU and install it onto an older motherboard. And that’s not even an option for Mac users since Apple made it impossible to upgrade the hardware on their products.

You’re looking forward to spending time and money on installing the updates, lower productivity from your workers as your servers slow down and possibly having to upgrade.

I suspect we will see class action lawsuits against Intel and AMD very soon. It only took a few days after the iPhone slowing down older phones scandal becoming public for the lawsuits to start.

Technical Details

Here are links for more detailed information about Spectre, Meltdown and the CPU bug: