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February 28, 2018 3 min read

We're glad you appreciated our previous notice about the Intel/AMD/ARM processor flaw - holy smokes, we couldn't believe the response! As ever, we're happy to answer your questions, test to see if you're affected, and then help secure your devices with the patches and security updates that are currently available.

In case you're wondering about the current state of Spectre/Meltdown affairs... This is still one of THE biggest security issues that the industry has seen in years, affecting PCs, Macs, and phones! OS and Browser developers are rushing to release patches, and hardware manufacturers are releasing BIOS/firmware patches. When all of these are installed properly together, you are much more secure. It's been a rough and frightening road over the last few months with a few speed-bumps along the way... but fixes are rolling out (often for newer devices first) to help mitigate the problem, and it's a scramble for everyone to get updated as quickly as possible. (Even our website host shut down for 1 hour last night to patch their servers.)

In case you missed our first newsletter, and Spectre/Meltdown aren't familiar names, here's a quick re-cap : Security researchers have discovered a serious flaw in nearly every Intel and ARM processor made in the last 11 years - a flaw so serious it can allow attackers to steal sensitive information right out from under your nose. However, that's usually about as far as most news reports go, so you're probably wondering how all of this works, and does it affect my computer or phone? Read on! In the most straightforward terms possible, the flaw can be described like this... Your operating system (Windows,  OSX, Android, iOS, etc) and certain applications (like antivirus, VM, etc) have the authority to do anything they like within your computer/phone, while other programs/apps are subject to restrictions which limit what they can do... the idea being that you're safer if the majority of programs you're running are the low-privileged variety that are "fenced in" where they can't do any harm. The Intel processor flaw is so dangerous because a specially crafted low-privileged program/app can essentially peek across those fences (because where the flaw exists, there are no fences) and see what a fully-privileged program is working on, potentially gaining access to normally secure things like passwords and other personal information.

So, that's how it works, now what can we do about it? There are several ways that we can help! You can drop of your device, leave it with us, and we'll apply the latest firmware and software patches, or we can come to you to patch your PC or Mac.

At your request, Signa will :
examine your computer/tablet/phone and tell you if your particular device is affected by the flaw.
check to see if the security patch has already installed or not.
help resolve any anti-virus conflicts which prevent the security patch from installing.
recover your system if it happens to be one of those on which the security patch causes frequent reboots or start-up failures.
help minimize post-patch performance slow-downs.

So, don't hesitate to ask, we're here to help and will gladly lend a hand with any of these or other security issues you may be dealing with.

Thanks!

Jack
416-488-9506
jack@signa.com 
Tel. 416-488-9208 Email: Help@signa.com
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Our store address is:
Signa Computer Systems
3457 Yonge Street
Toronto, On M4N 2N3
Canada

Greg Stapells
Greg Stapells


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