Worst CPU Bug Ever Found

WHAT HAS HAPPENED

Have you heard of the two latest threats to your computer security?  They are Meltdown and Spectre, and they are serious computer security flaws.  It affects Intel processors all the way back to 1995 and potentially AMD CPUs as well.  If your computer has been rebooting intermittently lately, it’s a result of patches gone wrong to try and neutralize the problem.

Daniel Gruss – the Graz University of Technology researcher who discovered the problem stated that Meltdown is “probably one of the worst CPU bugs ever found”

Meltdown is a flaw in security that allows hackers to side-step the hardware barrier separating user apps from your computer’s core memory.

Spectre is a flaw that allows hackers to trick your programs and get access to your secret information.

Meltdown + Spectre = Really Bad News for all computer-users.  It won’t be long before hackers start making their attempts now that this information is widely known.  Some experts suggest that hackers are already developing hacks and adding them to their hackers tool kits to launch attacks against the unsuspecting and undefended.

Dan Guido, Chief Executive of Cybersecurity for Trail of Bit, stated: “Exploits for these bugs will be added to hackers’ standard toolkits.”

DO YOU HAVE THIS PROBLEM?

Most likely, yes.  Every Intel CPU since 1995 has the problem, even though it’s only recently been discovered.  This will include all Windows and all Intel Macs.  This includes laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones, and more.

MEASURES TAKEN

Apple, Intel, Microsoft and others have released white papers on the problem and are taking measures to provide solutions.  Apple recommends only downloading updates and apps from the App Store or other trusted sources.  Microsoft has released an emergency patch but is must be installed manually.  Per Microsoft,

Microsoft is aware of a new publicly disclosed class of vulnerabilities that are called “speculative execution side-channel attacks” that affect many modern processors and operating systems, including Intel, AMD, and ARM.

Note This issue also affects other operating systems, such as Android, Chrome, iOS, and MacOS. Therefore, we advise customers to seek guidance from those vendors.

Clearly this is an emergency situation.  Here are some tips to help avoid trouble until a proper fix is implemented by the major computer companies:

  • Do not download software from unknown sources
  • Be careful opening all emails
  • Don’t download or execute email attachments

WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELP YOU

Call us and let a Kayonix Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer scan and diagnose your computers for problems and implement resolution to eradicate any virus you have and stop any trying to get in.  Let us:

  • Scan for Meltdown/Spectre vulnerability
  • Configure antivirus software
  • Scan for and clean any current virus
  • Resolve performance issues

As always, Kayonix is staying on top of this situation.

SOURCES

Ars Technica

The Guardian

The Verge

Windows Central

Apple

Microsoft

SATA Speeds

People often ask about the speed of SATA. It’s handy to know these speeds when comparing SATA devices like hard drives and SSDs.

First a little background information.  Here is the definition of SATA with some older acronyms thrown in for comparison.

  • SATA – Serial Advanced Technology Attachment
  • PATA – Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment
  • ATA – Advanced Technology Attachment

Perhaps you remember these older hard drive attachments methods.  If so, you can see where SATA got it’s name.

There have been several revisions of SATA.  Here are the major revisions and their speeds:

  • SATA 1.0 = 1.5 Gbps
  • SATA 2.0 = 3 Gbps
  • SATA 3.0 = 6 Gbps
  • SATA 3.1 = 6 Gbps
  • SATA 3.2 = 6 Gbps

Gbps = Gigabits per second

For more about SATA, read Wikipedia.

USB Speeds

Here are current USB speeds for easy comparison.

USB SPEEDS

Speeds are theoretical under ideal conditions.  Real-world speeds vary and are usually slightly less than advertised..

  • USB 1.0   12Mbps or 1.5 MBps
  • USB 2.0   480 Mbps or 60 MBps
  • USB 3.0   5Gbps or 625 MBps
  • USB 3.1   10Gbps or 1.25 GBps
  • USB 3.2    20 Gbps or 2.5GBps

Acronym and Definitions

  • Mbps = Mega bits per second
  • MBps = Mega BYTES per second
  • Gbps = Giga bits per second
  • GBps = Gig BYTES per second
  • One byte = eight bits (1Byte = 8bits)
  • Kilo = Thousand
  • Mega = Million
  • Giga = Billion
  • Tera = Trillion