This week a couple of truly nasty computer hardware bugs were revealed by security researchers. Dubbed Meltdown and Spectre, the exploits take advantage of performance features found in Intel CPU chips as far back as 1995 and most other modern CPUs from AMD and ARM. Luckily, chip and software makers have been working in the background for months on fixes and mitigations, and many of them have already been deployed.

I’ll walk you through what these bugs are, what they actually mean to you, and what you can do to limit your exposure to them. Sadly, this is probably just the first of many hardware bugs that will be revealed – and hardware bugs are often very hard if not impossible to fix without simply replacing the entire device.

For Further Insight:

Carey Parker began programming computers in middle school when personal computers were just starting to become popular. For years, these twin interests percolated until he attended Purdue University and he learned you could get paid to do this stuff – it was called Electrical Engineering! After obtaining a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in EE, Carey wrote software for multiple companies, large and small. In recent years, particularly after the Edward Snowden revelations in 2013, he became deeply concerned about computer security and privacy. In 2014, he combined his passion for computers, cybersecurity and fantasy novels with the long-time desire to write the book: Firewalls Don’t Stop Dragons.