CPU security flaw

One of the most recent security flaws takes advantage of a CPU vulnerability. This means pretty much anything with a chip is potentially at risk. The vulnerabilities include the potential that passwords and other personal information can be stolen. Various hardware companies are working to push out patches and you may or may not have had the opportunity to make your equipment more secure as of this date. My impression is that most fixes have yet to appear.

Here is an explanation of the exploit provided by Google. I became aware of this problem when reading an expert explain that he felt compelled to block all ads even though he disagreed with the process of ad blocking because of the threat from this exploit.

You become vulnerable when using a browser online so modifications to browser software will likely be an initial response. Apple promises a patch to Safari that will soon be available (and may already be released). I am particularly concerned about chrome and the machines I use that run on the Chrome OS (see link to Google’s explanation above). My understanding is that this fix will be released in a week or so.

I did find an immediate adjustment you can make as a chrome browser user. I do not think it deals with all exploit related problems, but Google claims it deals with some. I have made this modification and I have noticed to problems (it is described as experimental). Note that the modification may seem unusual – you copy a line of code into the site address text window to execute, but it does work.

Older chrome devices may not be protected by the most immediate fixes that will be available and this may be an issue in settings (e.g. education) that keep equipment around for as long as possible.

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