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Meltdown and Spectre: CPU Bug

@ 2018-01-05 10:16:09
Meltdown and Spectre: is the latest CPU bug that was discovered just after the new year. This bug affects every single CPU released since 1995, being millions and millions of CPUs in servers, PCs, tablets and cell phones. Do not think you are immune because this affects everyone. However, there is also a lot of misinformation and scare tactics that are feeding into the story. ONeil Online is here to let you know what we are doing about it, and what you can do about it.

Meltdown is currently thought to primarily affect Intel processors manufactured since 1995, excluding the company’s Itanium server chips and Atom processors before 2013. It could allow hackers to bypass the hardware barrier between applications run by users and the computer’s core memory. Meltdown, therefore, requires a change to the way the operating system handles memory to fix, which initial speed estimates predict could affect the speed of the machine in certain tasks by as much as 30%.

The Spectre flaw affects most modern processors made by a variety of manufacturers, including Intel, AMD and those designed by ARM, and potentially allows hackers to trick otherwise error-free applications into giving up secret information. Spectre is harder for hackers to take advantage of but is also harder to fix and would be a bigger problem in the long term.

Both of these bugs are not easily accessible even for an expert hacker. As of now there are no reports of any hacker that has been able to take advantage of these bugs. Because this is a hardware flaw in the design of the CPU, the only way to fix the issue would be to replace the CPU. However, production of these new CPUs will not be available for at least 6 months or more. Therefore the only way to fix the issue is to patch it from the operating system side. Apple, Microsoft and all the Linux distributions are scrambling to address the issue.

When a patch has been released it is reported to have anywhere from a 5% to 30% affect on the CPU performance. People who are surfing the internet, doing email, even playing games, this performance degradation will NOT affect you. The performance drop will ONLY be affected for applications that involve intense number crunching, number processing, and number calculations that occur on the CPU. The average user will not see any affects of a patched CPU.

What can you do? Always check for operating system updates. This will ensure when a patch is released you will be secure.

ONeil Online is always ensuring our servers, VPS nodes, and network devices are up to date. If needed, emergency reboots will be conducted for security updates. Customers who are hosting dedicated servers with us, please ensure your OS is up to date. If you need assistance or have questions please let us know.