security

Meltdown and Spectre: The New Threat to Business

Cute looks do not necessary mean that it is harmless proves Meltdown and Spectre. Meltdown and Spectre are two security bugs that can affect all digital systems in the world. Armed with cute logos, many people confuse them to be something harmless unless their potential was known. They are almost similar to Magneto and Venom, the only difference is that they affect businesses. Entrepreneurs must understand what these security bugs are and how to protect their businesses from it.

How Do Meltdown and Spectre Work?
Meltdown and Spectre are two security bugs that can affect all digital systems in the world. They are supposed to be dangerous than both Magneto and Venom because of the way that these operate. When it comes to the operation of a security bug, most bugs affect either the software or the hardware of a system. Meltdown and Spectre are different because both these bugs are found at an architectural level within a system’s processors. With Spectre and Meltdown, the data passes through a kernel, which is the core of a computer’s operating system. The data passes through a plain and unencrypted form. Every system has powerful protections that are designed to shield the unencrypted data from being interfered with by other sources. But Meltdown and Spectre are bugs that have techniques that can get around these protections too.
The fact that these bugs work from the kernel of a system make them the most dangerous security bugs. This is because the bug allows anyone to observe all the actions that one takes on a computer starting from password details, accessing private information or sending any form of encrypted communications.

Meltdown and Spectre were discovered by three separate groups that were working at the same time. The people who discovered these bugs were Jann Horn who worked in Google Project Zero, Werner Haas and Thomas Prescher who worked with Cyberus Technology, and Daniel Gruss, Stefan Mangard, Moritz Lipp and Michael Schwarz who were from the Graz University of Technology.

What do Meltdown Affect?
The bug Meltdown was named because it melts the boundary of security that are enforced by a system’s hardware. Meltdown affects Intel Processors. It breaks through the shield and prevents applications from reaching the kernel memory. Meltdown works by breaking down a barrier. Meltdown also affect cloud providers that use Intel CPUs and Xen PV as virtualisation. Cloud providers that do not have patches applied are naturally the ones that are affected. The cloud providers that do not have real hardware virtualisation and relies on containers that share one kernel are also affected.

What do Spectre Affect?
Spectre was named on the basis of the root cause that is root speculation.
Spectre affects Intel, AMD and ARM processors. Spectre can penetrate through smartphones, wearables and everything that has a chip in it. Spectre works by tricking an application to reveal protected information.
Difference between Meltdown and Spectre
The difference between Meltdown and Spectre is that Meltdown breaks the mechanism of a system that keeps application from accessing the arbitrary system memory. Meltdown makes it possible for applications to access system memory.
Spectre on the other hand tricks applications to access arbitrary locations in their memory.
The similarity between both Spectre and Meltdown is that both use side channels to obtain information from the memory location of a system.
How Does it Affect Businesses?
If you are an entrepreneur unaware of these two security bugs then you should be careful. This is because, if anyone uses either Spectre or Meltdown to spy on your business then, it is possible that that person would be able to pass through the passwords and compromise data.
However the entrepreneurs can make use of software patches that can protect one’s business from Meltdown and Spectre. These software patches can help an entrepreneur to guard one’s system against these bugs from present and future attacks.

What can Entrepreneurs do to guard against Spectre and Meltdown?
Given that Spectre and Meltdown can break your businesses it is important to move beyond just the software patches to enhance the security of your systems.

1. Update all Devices Used in Business:
It is important that entrepreneurs update all devices that has important information about their business. It is also safe to update personal devices too. Make sure that all the devices that you use are equipped with the protection of the latest OS and software updates. Entrepreneurs who have devices that update automatically will have these software updated.

2. Recheck the Status of Important Accounts:
It is possible that one’s system has been affected before the patches could be applied. It is important that entrepreneurs check the most important accounts in business. If you see any suspicious activity, you must report it immediately and take the required measures.

3. Change Passwords:
It is important that entrepreneurs keep changing the password of their businesses. Choosing strong passwords add an extra layer of protection to your business accounts.

4. Keep Yourself Updated on the Latest Spectre and Meltdown News:

Entrepreneurs who want to stay ahead of the problems that Meltdown and Spectre might give shape, must keep themselves updated on the developments that are happening in the security bug world. Keeping oneself updated would help an entrepreneur to handle problems that might arise.
Meltdown and Spectre are the new security bugs that have threatened the business world. These bugs have been present the last twenty years. It has been discovered now. Businesses can guard their systems with the knowledge that these discoveries have made. Entrepreneurs must identify all the vulnerable areas of security that his/her business has and take measures to make their systems secure. The best part about these bugs is that now that they are detected entrepreneurs can protect themselves against them. The most important thing entrepreneurs should do is keep themselves updated on all the technological advances that are touching the security bug world. Keep yourself armed with the power of knowledge and stay ahead in the security game of your business.

About the author

SPI Group

An integrated platform created to serve entrepreneurs and service providers. SPI engages with over 100,000 Entrepreneurs & Senior decision makers through a unique combination of cutting edge business magazines, high profile B2B summits and conferences, strategic alliances with Govt, business associations and government bodies. SPI also leverages the power of digital marketing and social media.

Leave a Comment