Massive CPU flaws revealed

On Jan. 3, news of two recently found CPU flaws, called Spectre and Meltdown, was released. These two flaws combined affect nearly every processor manufactured since 1995 and pose a serious security risk to devices using these processors.

Spectre, the flaw that affects Intel, AMD, and even ARM processors, is a flaw in a feature called “speculative execution.” This is when the processor prematurely executes tasks that may or may not be needed in the future in order to save processing time. Meltdown, which mainly affects Intel processors, is due to “out-of-order execution,” another optimization feature.

Updates began rolling out to affected devices during the week of Jan. 8, but they were halted after reports that the updates were causing devices to stop booting up. Due to the nature of these vulnerabilities, the patches required to fix the issue will likely cause CPU performance to drop.

As of Jan. 25, only some platforms have been patched successfully. The best course of action for most users is to, as always, ensure that their devices are updated often.