Should you be worried about Meltdown and Spectre?

Meltdown and Spectre icons

If you've been paying any attention to the news over the past couple of days then you're bound to have noticed that there's a pair of serious new computer vulnerabilities out there.

Meltdown and Spectre are critical CPU exploits that make it possible to steal passwords and sensitive data from privileged memory – including the supposedly secure kernel – with a bit of malicious JavaScript in the browser. At first it seemed that mainly Intel CPUs were at risk, but it's since become apparent most other CPUs are vulnerable too.

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Jim McCauley

Jim McCauley is a writer, performer and cat-wrangler who started writing professionally way back in 1995 on PC Format magazine, and has been covering technology-related subjects ever since, whether it's hardware, software or videogames. A chance call in 2005 led to Jim taking charge of Computer Arts' website and developing an interest in the world of graphic design, and eventually led to a move over to the freshly-launched Creative Bloq in 2012. Jim now works as a freelance writer for sites including Creative Bloq, T3 and PetsRadar, specialising in design, technology, wellness and cats, while doing the occasional pantomime and street performance in Bath and designing posters for a local drama group on the side.