08 Jan 2018

James Bond Enters Cyber Security

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Enter 2018. A new generation of cyber security risks bear names that make it sound like they were implanted by James Bond villains (“Spectre”), with worldwide doomsday impact (“Meltdown”), coupled with anti-virus programs used for international espionage (Kapersky Labs allegations).

In short, “Meltdown” basically melts security boundaries which are normally enforced by computer hardware. “Spectre” is based on the root, speculative execution element of all computer processors (read the details here). The Kapersky Labs issue is the US Government’s belief that the Russians use this anti-virus software’s core system access to implant data leak tools that search for and siphon off classified system files (source).

Should you care?

Well, these bugs, known as Spectre and Meltdown, certainly appear to have potential to cause security problems and if left unaddressed, could be the end of “cloud computing” for secure applications. Fortunately, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft appear to be getting ahead of these now known issues.

If one is a sophisticated cyber sleuth, the newfound awareness of these tricks are bad news — patches will make it harder to do your work of siphoning off secrets from others’ computers.

For most people, however, that are still not encrypting email or using strong passwords, these bugs should be low on your priority list. Fix the basics first.

We certainly recommend all of our Tech Essentials readers that have not yet started to improve the basics of protecting themselves and their clients, install the simplest to use security tool, RMail, with its email encryption, anti-wire fraud protection, and imposter email protection.

Read RPost’s 2017 year in review here.

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