There's a huge security flaw in WINRAR, that will enable hackers to take over your computer. So Leo advises that if you use WINRAR to zip/unzip your files, that you should update to the latest beta version. But you have to go to the WINRAR site and manually download the update. There is no automatic update.
Irwin is concerned that the Spectre bug fix will slow down his computer. Leo says it's possible, but it's unlikely to have a noticeable impact on a modern machine. Experts say the bug fix will greatly affect slower, older machines. A newer machine will get the least performance hit. He should just make sure to update his AVS and all of his drivers.
VMware or really heavy applications are where the performance hit will most likely be affected.
Travis is having trouble getting the Windows update that will fix the Meltdown/Spectre exploit. Leo says he should make sure to update his antivirus first, because the fix will break the AVS and crash the machine, forcing a reinstall of the OS. He may also need to do a BIOS update. In fact, the entire machine may need to be updated to prevent the Windows OS update from breaking the machine.
2018 brought about the news that every processor built in the last ten years have a flaw in them that could give hackers access to sensitive data. Initially believed to affect just Intel processors, the latest is that this affects every single processor made, regardless of platform.
The flaws utilizes a technique called "processor speculation," which enables the processor to speculate what the user will do next in order to accelerate performance. But the feature also gives hackers access to sensitive L2 cache data like passwords. It's especially true for networks.
The latest exploit "Spectre" affects every single chip made in the last ten years. At first, security researchers thought that the exploit only affected Intel processors, but it turns out this hack also effects ARM, AMD, and any other processor that uses speculative prediction. The white hat hackers who found the flaw discovered that you can use it to access valuable data including passwords and other information. Leo says that Microsoft has already pushed out a fix, and Apple's High Sierra has patched the vulnerability with a recent fix. Apple has also patched the iPhone and iPad.
WannaCry is ransomware that can lock up your data unless you pay the hacker who created it. WannaKiwi, however, finds the crypto key in your PCs RAM to undo the damage. It only seems to work about a third of the time, however. That's why Leo says to make sure you don't get it by altering your behavior, and by making sure you have current backups of your data should it happen. One thing you should never do is pay up, because you don't know if you'll get your data back, or if there's something even worse getting installed.
Remember the legal battle that Apple fought against the US Government to prevent unlocking of the iPhone's encryption? The US Gov't ended up going to a third party company who had created a hack to do it. Now that hack is being used to unlock and peer into the mobile phones of dissidents and other undesirable elements that the government wants to keep tabs on. Even reporters. Leo says that Apple has pushed out a fix to block it, and everyone should install iOS 9.5.3 to stop it. Otherwise, you're vulnerable.
A really bad exploit in the Android OS enables the installation of malware called QuadRooter. Google is working to push security updates, and promises to have an update by September. If your manufacturer or wireless provider is slow to push out updates, then you may be vulnerable for quite some time, especially if you have an old phone. If you're looking to get a new phone, make sure you're getting it from a company that's offering monthly updates.
Rick has been getting text messages and his friends are getting text messages from him with a link to a YouTube video on phone hacking. The Apple Geniuses say that's impossible. How can that happen? Has his cellphone been hacked?
Cisco has found a vulnerability similar to the Android text exploit, which could take control of your mobile phone through a text message. Leo says that Apple has released a patch to close the hole before anyone else had discovered it. This affects iOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS. Mavericks and Yosemite users don't have a fix yet, though, so those users should disable iMessage until they do. If you can't get past Mavericks because your desktop is too old, turn off iMessages permanently.