You'll have seen in the press over the last couple of days that a serious security bug has been discovered which exists in many processors made by Intel and others over the past decade. There are 2 bugs, that have been named Spectre and Meltdown. They're serious, and could potentially allow malicious software to access information on your PC. Although the bug is in the processor itself, its effects can be largely mitigated by a patch to the operating system. If you're worried, don't be. Almost every computer in the world is affected by these bugs, and the chances of you being personally targeted by hackers as a result of it is pretty much non-existent. But here are a couple of recommendations from me.
1. If you're in the market for a new computer or phone but you can afford to wait a while, do so. Intel and others are now starting to manufacture chips that include the fix.
2. If you use Windows 7, 8 or 10, don't panic. Microsoft is issuing patches and these will be rolled out just like any other security update. As always, ensure that automatic updates are enabled on your computer.
3. Keep an eye on your antivirus software and ensure that it is also up to date. The 2 chip bugs affect the way that antivirus software works, and so the AV software companies are rolling out their own updates. Until your AV software has been updated, and has set a special flag on your computer to indicate that it has done so, Windows won't install its own fix for Spectre and Meltdown. So if you have been concerned for some time that your AV software isn't updating properly, now is the time to sort it out.
4. If you use a version of Windows older than 7, then you really need to get up to date. Lots of security problems that were discovered since support for Windows XP ended, including this one, mean that it really isn't safe to continue with XP any more.
And that's really all you need to do.
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