You may have heard the terms “Meltdown” and “Spectre” and a lot of talk about cybersecurity recently. What does it all mean? We’ll break it down for you.
 
Researchers and security experts have identified a design flaw in many computer processors that introduces two new vulnerabilities: Meltdown and Spectre.

What that means

These vulnerabilities could allow a malicious program to access information on your computer or device’s memory — including passwords. In the case of cloud platforms, unauthorized users might be able to gain access to your information.

What we’re doing

All is not lost. The Office of Information Technology is focused on ensuring university systems are protected. We’re confirming our cloud service providers have mitigated this issue in their own environments. (Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon Web Services are just some of the big names that have already addressed it.) Additionally, we’re applying patches to university desktops and laptops, as well as testing and deploying patches on our own servers.

What you should do

Don’t panic. Unfortunately, these sorts of security threats are now part of our everyday lives. The only way to guard against them is to remain aware when threats emerge.
 
Patching servers, endpoints and mobile devices is critical to making sure vulnerabilities like Meltdown and Spectre aren’t exploited. So we urge all members of the St. Edward’s community to ensure their home computers and personal devices are patched. 

How do you check for and install these updates? It depends on your operating system, but below are instructions for the major players:
  We’ve seen some reports that indicate these patches could affect the performance of your computer or device, but for the average user, any impact should be minimal — and a much better option than being compromised.
 
For the latest information and updates on both Meltdown and Spectre, we recommend checking the comprehensive source: meltdownattack.com