Meltdown & Spectre

Updated: 1/10/2018

Protect Against Meltdown and Spectre

CC Communications security and cyber protection services

ATTENTION: Third Party Anti-Virus Software Must Be Compatible with Meltdown & Spectre Patches

What does this mean to you? If your computer uses a third-party antivirus program that does not comply with Microsoft’s new rules, Microsoft will not allow installation of the January 2018 security patch, future security patches or updates. If your antivirus program currently running on your computer is not in compliance with Microsoft’s new standards, this is a good time to upgrade your antivirus program to one that will provide better protection. Click here to upgrade your Antivirus program.

Microsoft updated their support notice by stating that third-party anti-virus vendors are required to be compatible with the recent Meltdown and Spectre patches by setting a registry key. If the the anti-virus software is not compatible, you will not be able to install the January 2018 security updates and will not be protected from security vulnerabilities unless your antivirus software vendor complies.

Click here to view the list of anti-virus vendors with information on compliance so far.

The new certification process is to prevent antivirus vendors from bypassing Microsoft's Kernal Patch Protection. This will help protect your computer by making Antivirus programs stay up-to-date and not ignoring this vital flaw.

Beware of Scams & Fake Patching Phishing Emails

You may have heard of or have received an email by someone recommending you to download a link that will keep you safe from these attacks. DO NOT OPEN OR DOWNLOAD THE LINK! These scams also apply to phone calls and pop ads on Facebook. It's a scammer's golden opportunity to hack into your computer. View an example of what these phishing emails look like.

For additional information about Meltdown & Spectre, visit https://meltdownattack.com/




What is this Meltdown and Spectre security flaw all over the news?

A virus? The end of the Internet? Scare tactics? Net Neutrality? Hype? Is this the end of all safe online activity?

None of the above.

Meltdown and Spectre are flaws in almost all CPU chips that could expose data on your computer to hackers. The unique nature of this security issue is that it is hardware related as opposed to software related; however, it still requires malware to exploit the flaw in the chip.

What can I do to protect myself?

  1. Update your operating system, like Windows updates.
  2. Check for firmware updates on your devices. (routers, cellphones, etc.…)
    Firmware updates are usually done with Windows updates or the Manufacturer will send you an alert to do it. A router update is more involved due to you must log into the router itself and then check for updates.
  3. Update your browser.

    Whichever browser you use, normally you can go to the Help area and look for About <browser> area and there should be a check for updates button. Or you can go directly to the web and redownload your browser again with the latest version.

  4. Keep your antivirus active and up-to-date.

    If you don’t have antivirus protection, get it. To update your antivirus program, open it up and there should be a check for updates button, “Update Now” button, or there may be a popup from the program to do an update. Most antivirus software will do updates without any work on your part, but BE PROACTIVE and check to make sure it is up-to-date.  

  5. Backup, backup, backup.

    Backup any data that you don’t want to lose, period. If you don’t have a flash drive or external hard drive, get one. Another alternative is a cloud backup solution. Then start copying your pictures, music, any documents you don’t want to lose. Once you have it on the backup drive, you can delete it off your computer if you want. This will also free up space on your system and keep it from getting bogged down. Be sure to store your backups in a safe place. Just like a car, you know you need a spare tire in case you have a flat. Be prepared. This is not just computers, but also phones, tablets, and some gaming systems can also be affected.

  6. Do not click on email attachments!

    Always be on the lookout for phishing emails that try to trick you into downloading malicious software or files.

  7. DO NOT let anyone connect to your computer to fix it unless you know who it is.

    No one will call you from Microsoft, Dell, HP, Apple and tell you they can fix your computer problem. These are scams. They call telling you the sky is falling, your computer has a virus, telling you whatever the latest scare is on the Internet. All they want to do is steal money from you. If you get a popup that tells you your computer is infected with a virus, your computer is about to expire and you need to call us to renew your license key for your computer, do not believe it. These are scams!

The safest you can be on a computer is to not be online, however, that is not a reality in today’s connected world. You can’t search or shop online, send an email, or navigate using your cellphone without being online. If you use a computer, chances are you will have to be online and you should be aware of the potential security threats. But you can be proactive and protect yourself against these threats

Now is the time to be proactive so when the next big problem that involves the security of your computer hits the internet, you are prepared. Computer crashes? You have your data backed up and you don’t lose your files or precious photos. Get a virus? Your antivirus is up-to-date to protect you.

Contact CC Communications for details about our Cybersecurity Products and Solutions including firewalls, antivirus, cloud back-up and more.