Critical Security Flaw that Affects Your Computers

1/11/2018 - By Bob Woock

As you may have heard on the news, a critical hardware vulnerability was recently discovered that impacts computers all over the world. These flaws are now being more commonly referred to as Meltdown and Spectre. “Meltdown” is the flaw found in Intel Chips that allows malicious programs to gain access to higher-privileged parts of a computer’s memory and “Spectre” is the flaw found in ARM and AMD chips that steals data from the memory of other applications on a machine. 

As your most trusted advisor, it is our desire to help you manage your IT business systems in the wake of situations like this and keep them secure and running efficiently. With that in mind, we want to keep you informed about this new worldwide problem affecting your computers.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about this critical security flaw:

AM I AFFECTED?

YES. This flaw breaks basic security for central processing chips (CPU) and has impacted millions of computers all over the world. It is highly likely that your computers are affected and, furthermore, not only is your PC or MAC affected by this flaw, but your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, security cameras, TV’s, etc. fall victim to the flaw as well. 

WHAT DOES IT DO?

This flaw allows hackers or malware to access portions of your computer’s memory that could contain sensitive information. The information that can be obtained is random in nature, but could include passwords, SSN’s, or other sensitive information that you may have typed or accessed recently. 

Please NOTE – to date, there have been no reports of hackers or malware using this flaw. But it is expected that going forward we will begin to see the flaw being exploited.

WHAT CAN I DO TO PROTECT MY COMPUTERS?

Although you may have heard that the only way to properly protect your systems is to replace your computer’s CPU chip, that is not necessary.  Microsoft, Google, Apple and other vendors are developing and deploying patches to fix this issue within their respective products.  

Please NOTE – Microsoft has issued a warning that many Anti-virus programs are not yet compatible with the Microsoft patch and can cause a blue screen and other problems if the patch is deployed before your anti-virus program is updated.  So, please allow us to assist you with this so you can avoid this problem.

HOW CAN SALTMARSH HELP ME MANAGE THIS?

MANAGED IT SERVICES – Our team is already in the process of automating this fix for clients enrolled with Saltmarsh’s Managed IT Services. We have begun preparing to distribute patches to all of your systems and will verify that your systems are properly patched. 

Learn more about this centrally-managed, automated service and all the features and cost-savings your company can benefit from.

STANDARD SUPPORT SERVICES - If you’re currently using standard IT support services through Saltmarsh, we can schedule to get this fixed remotely or through a site visit to evaluate your system’s readiness and get the patches deployed to your computers.  

WHAT IF SALTMARSH DOESN’T MANAGE MY IT SYSTEMS? 

Whether you are contracted for managed IT services, standard support/on-call service, or you just call us occasionally for assistance, we are here to help in any way we can to secure your computer systems.  

If you need assistance or would like to learn more about our managed IT services, please contact us at support@saltmarshcpa.com or (800) 477-7458.

WHY IS SALTMARSH DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHER GUYS?

At Saltmarsh, we make it our business to know your business.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SECURITY FLAW:

About the Author | Bob Woock
Bob is a manager in the Information Technology Services Department of Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund. He has over 30 years of IT experience working in database and network administration as well as cyber security, both in the private sector and with the United States Marine Corp. He was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corp in 1992 after 11 years of dedicated service.

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