Major Computer Security Breach Unfolds in 2017

There is always such a thing as breach of privacy. It is easier now to get into people’s private information in this time and age of technology. A lot of our information nowadays, public or private, are shared in the World Wide Web. Technology companies work hard to protect privacy by means of security. However, there will always still be flaws. It is still easy for hackers to break in and steal vital information.

That’s why it is not a surprise that many cases of fraud and theft are happening. A lot of people’s and company’s sensitive information are being read by hackers and cyber criminals. Some of these information include bank account details. Company data breach also happens to large enterprises. Malwares are even used as ransom. This is caused by security flaws as most of our vital information are stored in the cloud.

Meltdown and Spectre

Recently, giant tech companies like Intel, AMD, and ARM have been hit by this cyber adversity. These companies are largely used in electronic and mobile devices. The whole scenario sent the entire industry scrambling. This is because the attack would create a breach of trust for consumers. It was discovered that security flaws exist in their computer chips. News of two major security holes affected almost all computers for these tech giants. Google researchers, academic institutions, and other tech companies discovered these flaws last year.

These bugs in the computer chips would render all computers and mobile devices to be vulnerable. These devices include smartphones, tablets, PC’s and computer servers. Hackers would develop programs and exploit passwords, personal information, cryptographic keys, encrypted codes. Other inaccessible information from targets would also be exploited.

Not only that, the bugs also affect other processors and operating systems. It allows secrets and vital information that are stored in the system’s memory and leaked for hackers to steal.

A Google blog posting mentioned that the flaws were intentionally made for parties that are unauthorized. This is so they are allowed to read sensitive information in the memory that is in the computer system. Depending on the cloud’s infrastructure, it is possible that data can be stolen.

The two cyber-attacks last year are called Meltdown and Spectre. These two attacks are based on the same general scope. For Meltdown, the hardware bugs deletes the line between processing in the kernel and the user and is mostly found in Intel chips. It allows malicious programs created by hackers to access restricted parts of the computer system.  As for Spectre, the bugs steals data from the memory of running applications on a machine. As Meltdown is found mostly on Intel chips, it was verified that Spectre was found on AMD and ARM chips.

Google was one of the few companies that discovered both flaws from computer chips. They alerted Intel of the discovery, thus giving them a headstart before it trickles massively on the internet.

During the attack, it was a difficult time for both private individuals and large-scale enterprises. This is because sensitive information can be used as blackmail and exploit them to a monetary level. One researcher even quoted that, “with glitches like these, there’s a huge possibibility for hackers to crack the code. It will reach a point where attacks like these cannot be contained.

What Happens Now

Microsoft, one of the biggest tech companies, has issued a statement about updating the majority of their cloud infrastructure. In some areas, work is still needed on these updates. Some customers may have to reboot for the security update to take place. They are scrambling to apply patches to their data infrastructure to prevent any security breach. The same goes for Apple as well. These big companies are developing and deploying updated software to protect their consumers. This would help against vulnerabilities supporting hardware chips from Intel, ARM and AMD.

What We Can Learn From This

Breach of privacy are unavoidable. When technology changed drastically, it gave hackers and cyber criminals the opportunity to up their game of exploiting. Microsoft and other giant tech companies are taking necessary steps to mitigate the situation. They are also working hard to deploy the best protection for their consumers as well. It is still necessary to be wary and conscious of the things we share on the cloud.

For customers using Windows 7, 8.1 or 10, the updated Windows security update recently released should be applied. Around November and December, early versions of the patches were released to Windows Insider. Microsoft also insists that customers install or make sure they have supported antivirus software before implementing the patch. There is a catch, though. It slows down processors inevitably when these patches are applied. However, some customers may not experience the delays in their processors.

For companies using data on a large-scale, they are provided the best protection through software from tech companies. This is to protect any legal actions to be taken by them to the tech companies for the breach of security and leakage of information. As for private individuals using and sharing the cloud, it is important that sensitive information should not be shared and posted. This would prevent fraud and theft through the internet. The sensitive information includes bank accounts and other codes that allows hackers to steal from you. It is also necessary to be updated on the new software and protection for our electronic devices. This is to prevent unnecessary and malicious attacks from hackers and cyber-criminals.

As technology is changing everyday, it also provides the hackers a reason to develop changes in trying to steal information from you as well. Avoid at all costs downloading programs that you are unfamiliar with. That goes for opening links, websites and e-mails that seem suspicious. Remember, cyber-attacks can happen anytime and to anyone at random. It is necessary that we keep ourselves informed at all times with regards to this kind of circumstances. Hackers are people who know how to get around the internet world. So it’s best to distance yourself by being informed.

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