Tech Friday

  • Some Technology Predictions for 2018 and beyond:
    • Cybersecurity threats continue to worsen
    • Businesses continue to use big data and machine learning to personalize and improve services at the expense of privacy
    • Blockchain finds uses besides cyrptocurrency
    • Augmented reality (AR) raises questions about intellectual property
    • Consumer technology gets even friendlier
    • Modes of transportation will be transformed
    • Extended battery life for our devices
    • Initial Coin Offering (ICO) face a regulatory crackdown
    • Software and Amazon devour the world
    • Minuscule robots may replace medicine for some diseases
  • "Meltdown" and "Spectre" CPU flaws affect virtually every modern CPU:
    • Researchers recently revealed critical flaws in most modern CPUs that affect nearly all Intel chips since 1995 as well as the AMD and Arm chips found in other devices.
    • The flaws were originally discovered last June by a researcher at Google Project Zero
    • The first is a serious flaw in Intel's processors known as "Meltdown"
    • Bloomberg said that Intel's microprocessors "are the fundamental building block of the internet, corporate networks and PCs"
    • Meltdown allows software to access privileged areas of a computer’s memory that should be protected
    • The bug is causing a major redesign of the Linux and Windows kernels to defend against the flaw
    • There is a Meltdown patch known as "Kaiser", but it could impact CPU performance by up to 30% or more in some instances
    • The second issue known as "Spectre" is fundamental flaw in processor design and affects nearly every modern processor in the market. This is billions of devices!
    • While Specter is more difficult to exploit, there is no known fix for it. It will most likely require a processor redesign
    • These flaws come are the result of chipmakers failing to ask basic questions the security of a design, and sacrificing security for performance
    • "Whereas Meltdown is an urgent crisis, Spectre affects virtually all fast microprocessors" said Paul Kocher, president and chief scientist at Cryptography Research, a division of Rambus
    • Kocher also said "There’s been this desire from the industry to be as fast as possible and secure at the same time. Spectre shows that you cannot have both."
    • AMD insisted there is a "near-zero" risk its chips can be attacked in some scenarios, but its CPUs are vulnerable in others
    • These two flaws demonstrate that it's possible for attackers to access the entire memory contents of a machine
    • For example, an attacker could rent 5 minutes of time from a cloud service and steal data from the machine's memory. Then move on to another server...
    • At this point, there is no evidence that these flaws have been exploited in the wild
    • Microsoft and Google said they have patched their cloud systems, while Amazon said it had already protected nearly all instances of A.W.S. and that customers should update any software running on their cloud
    • Patches are available for Linux and Microsoft Windows OS's and a patch is coming from soon from Apple
    • Here's a video that demonstrates the Meltdown attack in real time:
    • CNET has put together a growing list of fixes here:
Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more


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