Update on Meltdown and Spectre

You may have seen news articles about two significant flaws recently found in hardware used in computers, smartphones, tablets and other devices, called Spectre and Meltdown. Security researchers discovered these flaws, which impact the computer processors (CPUs) that are at the heart of all the computerized equipment.

The bugs affect computer hardware dating to the mid-1990s, so updates to operating systems such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS are required to protect devices from these flaws.  These bugs could allow hackers to steal data from your devices through malicious software or a hacked web site.

Technology vendors have invested significant resources in securing their cloud services and providing updates and patches for operating systems to address the vulnerabilities of Spectre and Meltdown.    Information Technology Services (ITS) will apply those patches to College-managed technology resources (including College-owned Windows and Mac computers) through the regular patching process.   

As the exploit can be triggered by a hacked website or malicious software and is not limited to College owned technology, it is a good reminder that individuals should do the following on their personal devices.

  1. be sure to install security patches distributed by the manufacturer on personal devices and computers
  2. only download software from trusted sources
  3. be alert for phishing attempts that could be used to install malware

Should the situation with this issue change, we will provide updates as appropriate.