Spectre & Meltdown: how to protect yourself

Spectre and Meltdown are critical security flaws that affect a majority of computers today, including the one you’re using to read this. They can leak your passwords and other sensitive data, which is why software companies are working on security patches. The good news for Apple users is that fixes are now available to keep their devices temporarily safe.

Download and install security patches ASAP

Apple has already released software updates for all affected devices, and you need to install them now. Here’s how:

  • macOS - Click the Apple icon on the topmost part of your screen and check whether your system has been updated to macOS 10.13.2. If not, click the ‘Software Update…’ button to go directly to the App Store, then click the ‘Update’ button for macOS High Sierra.
  • iOS - To update to iOS 11.2, go to Settings > General > Software Update and download and install the new software.
  • tvOS - To update to tvOS 11.2, go to Settings > System > Software Updates and follow Apple’s step-by-step instructions to update your software.

The company hasn’t confirmed whether they would release patches for devices running on outdated software, so if your business still uses previous versions of Macs, iPhones, or iPads, make sure they do not have critical company data stored on them. Better yet, upgrade to new devices so that they’re better protected against legacy system vulnerabilities.

Practice browser safety

The Spectre bug could also exploit vulnerabilities in browsers, so make sure you update Safari too. Apple is set to release Safari updates for Macs and iOS devices soon, and it’s highly recommended to download and install them as soon as they become available.

You should also avoid using non-Apple browsers like Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Firefox, as they have yet to release security patches against the bugs.

Download applications only from the App Store

Downloading apps from the App Store is one of the best ways to ensure you install only secure apps. Third-party stores are prone to malicious apps that could be disguised as legitimate and harmless -- or worse, an exact copy of a well-known app.

The App Store has had incidents of malicious applications targeting iPhones, but these cases are rare. It is also much better at vetting suspicious apps and is relatively safer than other open-source platforms.

Moreover, avoid jailbreaking your devices, as this just makes them and your systems more prone to malware. And regardless of where you’ve downloaded an app, practice extreme caution when running new, unfamiliar apps, whether on Macs or iPhones.

Because of the sheer scale of Spectre and Meltdown, there’s a greater need for businesses to consult with IT professionals who can install powerful security software and other protections. Our cyber security team is ready to answer your questions about these and other system bugs. Call us today for professional advice.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.