Well here’s some interesting and horrible news about the security on your device. According to this, all Intel chips of at least the last decade are affected. So I have done a bit of information gathering of my own, all Intel chips all the way back till 1995 are affected.
The last line in this BBC article reads:
If it is really bad then it may allow an exploit to read parts of the computer memory that should never be reached.
After doing a bit of research about what these ‘parts of the computer memory’ could be i quickly found this on Wikipedia about Speculative Executions:
In January 2018 severe vulnerabilities in the implementations of speculative execution on many processors, called Meltdown (Intel) and Spectre (AMD, ARM, Intel), were published by multiple sources. These potentially allow malicious software to read other memory on the system and gain access to information such as passwords and encryption keys.
Here’s a link if you wish to read up on these two vulnerabilities:
This site also state in their FAQ section that: “every Intel processor which implements out-of-order execution is potentially affected, which is effectively every processor since 1995” confirming the problem is much greater then just the initial estimate of chips of the last decade.
Now it’s not all as bad as it may sound: The only way these vulnerabilities can be exploited is if a program/ script is run on your device. Intel is said to deliver updates within the next week. The problems are slightly bigger when we think about what this might entail for servers.
… So, you could rent a VM for a very low price (they would restrict you to 1 core and 4G ram and maybe 100GB hard drive, might even throttle down the cpu) but it is not important, you can now run your program that exploit that hardware bug and dump ALL of the server memory, which include ALL of the virtual machine memory. This mean that if another client run some banking stuff then you also have access to all the data in ram. All the crypto keys. All the login and passwords. Everything in ram. …
Some additional information about Meltdown and Spectre:
Also, it seems the intel CEO knew about this and sold a large amount of his stocks last month before this became public news. He’s keeping the bare minimum that he needs (250.000 stocks) as the CEO of the company, previously owning ~495.000 shares.