Meltdown and Spectre memory Vulnerabilities: Attackers can steal your private information if you are not aware of it
Meltdown and Spectre are the memory vulnerabilities that could be the worst nightmare, if not taken care of. These newly discovered vulnerabilities affect the processor chip and could allow attackers to gain unauthorized access to the memory of a computer. These vulnerabilities could affect almost all modern processor chips. Harms due to vulnerabilities is a potential threat to all the devices and system running on a modern processor and any operating system. Vulnerabilities could be a threat to personal computers, server, and virtual machines on the cloud as well.
Both the Vulnerabilities exploits flaws in processors in order to bypass memory isolation in the operating system. All the operating systems are designed in such a way to block one application from accessing memory being used by another application. If this memory isolation in the operating system fails, a malicious application could steal information from memory being used by another application.
Once memory isolation of the operating system fails your system would be vulnerable regardless of the operating system. And a malicious application program can easily steal information from the memory.
Among Meltdown and Spectre, Meltdown possesses the greatest threat because it is easier to exploit and affects almost all kinds of computers. It exploits out-of-order execution feature. This is a performance feature found in many modern processor chips. The researchers who discovered it has confirmed that it affects every Intel processor since 1995.
An attacker can exploit Meltdown regardless of operating system. It can affect individual computers and computers hosting cloud services. Which means an attack on a single server could lead to the compromise of multiple virtual machines running on that server. Exploitation of cloud services is the most harmful threat. Attackers could potentially buy space on a vulnerable cloud service and can use as a stage to plan an attack against other customers using the same host.
Spectre is similar to Meltdown but it works in a different way. It exploits flaws in a processor design to trick an application into leaking information stored in memory. Spectre can affect all modern processors including Intel, AMD, and ARM chips.
How to stay protected
To protect yourself from these vulnerabilities users must apply operating system patches immediately. Microsoft Windows, Apple MacOS and Linux has released patches to patch Meltdown.
Click on the link below to know more about computer security threat