You may have woken up to the news that every computer made for the past 20 years has been built with a faulty computer chip.
A chip that is faulty in the way that makes your important information like passwords vulnerable.
Let’s take a better look at what happened and which steps you should now be taking.
These flaws or vulnerabilities have technically existed for about 20 years but was only recently recognized by Google engineers. Normal protocol calls for announcing vulnerabilities after fixes and updates have been made available, this drastically reduces the chances for hackers to realize this vulnerability and take advantage of it.
Unfortunately, the publication named The Register announced this flaw yesterday so hackers now have the chance to be aware of this and do some damage.
There are actually two bugs, one is Spectre and the other is insidiously named Meltdown.
Meltdown is the bug that can be fixed with a patch and update, but Spectre requires new computer chips altogether. Check out the links down below or just go to spectreattack.com to learn more about these bugs and what you can do to protect yourself.
This flaw means that your passwords are potentially compromised, particularly if you are using them while connected to the internet.
So here’s my advice, and I hope you take this seriously.
If there are updates available for your phone or computer, please update your devices immediately to help protect your information. Until that time, please try and stay as disconnected from the internet as much as possible. If you have to use a password disconnect your device from the internet before you type it in, although this is certainly no guarantee, it’s at least another layer of protection.
This has also affected web services like the Cloud, anything from hosting web servers, online exchanges that host the coins online (think Bittrex, Poloniex), Google Drive and Amazon web services have all been affected. I encourage you to seek out notifications from these services to asses how they are dealing with this situation and move your valuable information like cryptos, into a safer location.
If you have a hardware wallet I’d say now is a good time to put it to use and secure your investments now.
Once solid updates have been rolled out and you’ve updated your devices go ahead and change all of your passwords. It would also be a good time to install a password manager app.
So taking a look at this debacle, it sucks, lots of people will find their information and valuable investments have been compromised in one form or another. But on the other hand, this does show how closed source practices can lead to major dilemmas.