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‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ computer security issues

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As you may have seen in the news, recent security issues (known as vulnerabilities) have been identified with many modern computers, smartphones and tablets.

What does this mean?

These hardware bugs – known as Meltdown and Spectre – allow programs to steal data currently being processed by the computer. A malicious program could exploit these vulnerabilities to steal data such as passwords, photos, emails, documents and other computer files.

What happens now?

Companies such as Microsoft, Google, Apple and the Linux user community have issued software updates to mitigate this issue.

I don’t use Microsoft Windows. Am I affected?

Almost definitely. These vulnerabilities also affect most modern Apple Mac and Linux computers, plus iPhones, iPads and Android mobile devices.

What do I need to do?

We always advise everyone to keep their personally owned computer or mobile devices up-to-date with the latest security updates. This will help to protect from many vulnerabilities which regularly affect computers and mobile devices. Most devices will install updates automatically or at least prompt you to run an update.

University managed computers such as the PCs in clusters are regularly updated with software patches to ensure we keep our campus as safe as possible.


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