Keeping Up With the Meltdown and Spectre Bugs

Keeping Up With the Meltdown and Spectre Bugs

Q. Is it safe to install the Windows patch for these new Spectre and Meltdown bugs? Do they affect Linux? (And who names these security flaws, anyway?)

A. Meltdown and Spectre, the two recently announced security flaws that can expose personal data to hackers, could potentially affect Linux systems, along with computers and devices running Windows, Mac and other operating-system software. These new bugs are actually in the computer’s hardware — specifically, in the central processing unit.

Check Microsoft’s support site for the absolute latest news, but the company previously warned that its updates for Windows 7 and Windows 10 can conflict with certain antivirus programs; users should contact those software makers about updates. Early reports that the Windows patches were causing severe problems on computers with AMD processors prompted Microsoft to temporarily halt updates to many of those systems for a few days. The software fixes are expected to make the computer run more slowly, but Microsoft has noted that newer processors running Windows 10 should feel the least impact.

Microsoft released its KB4056892 Windows security update for the Meltdown and Spectre flaws on Jan. 3.Credit…The New York Times

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