CPU Bug – Meltdown and Spectre

Feb 13, 2018

What is Meltdown and Spectre?

Meltdown and Spectre exploit vulnerabilities in all modern processors. including most recent PC’s, smartphones and even servers allowing the hackers to read sensitive information from the memory.

This attack can be carried out by either malicious code running on the machine, or even code running in your browser. If you haven’t patched against this yet, then you really need to do this now.

Before we go any further we have patched all our cPanel servers as the new patches have been released, we started patching at the start of January. As you’re possibly aware we use KernelCare which checks for patches every 4 hours, so we are always getting the latest updates. KernelCare did fall behind on the without reboot patches hence we patched directly and rebooted when we needed to. They are now fully up to speed so as normal we expect further patches before mainstream releases, they are truly an amazing team.

Also the cloud servers have been kept up to date to as the mainstream patches as they have been released.

If you’re reading this and not a Birch Hosting Customer we recommend that you check your hosting provider that they have patched their systems. We have carried out a number of migrations from other hosts in the last few weeks and not one had patched!

Should i be worried about Spectre?

As stated above yes you need to ensure that your system is kept up to date, otherwise as the vulnerability becomes weaponized nothing on your machine will be safe, including passwords/login details will be available for the taking. this is possible with most modern CPU’s including AMD, ARM and Intel that use speculative execution. It does this by using other running programs to access memory on the affected computer.

Why is is called Spectre?

The root cause of Spectre is “speculative execution” and is not an easy fix, must be some 007 fans out there.

What is Meltdown?

As opposed to Spectre that actually uses another program to attack the affected computer, meltdown breaks the security that keeps applications from accessing sensitive system memory.

Why call it Meltdown?

Because it melts all security in place at a hardware level to gain access.

How do i protect my machine?

Go to the manufacturer website and look for new Kernel patches for your model and CPU type normally in the BIOS update section. Also make sure your machine is fully up to date on the software.

Want more info?

Take a look at the Google project zero blog

Currently there are no known attacks or exploits in the wild, however unfortunately due to the nature of such a vulnerability they would be difficult to detect. As always if you have any questions regarding your hosting please get in touch,

 

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