Computer researchers have recently found out that the main chip in most modern computers—the CPU—has a hardware bug. It’s really a design flaw in the hardware that has been there for years. This is a big deal because it affects almost every computer on networks, including workstation and servers.
This hardware bug allows malicious programs to steal data that is being processed in your computer memory. Normally, applications are not able to do that because they are isolated from each other and the operating system. This hardware bug breaks that isolation.
So, if the bad guys are able to get malicious software running on your computer, they may be able to get access to your passwords stored in a password manager or browser, your emails, instant messages, and documents.
The more severe vulnerability, Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754), appears isolated to Intel processors developed in the last 10 years. Spectre (CVE-2017-5715 and CVE-2017-5753) on the other hand, theoretically affects all processors that use speculative execution, including most modern processors manufactured by Intel, AMD, ARM and potentially more.
- Summary of issues and links to vendors: https://meltdownattack.com
From a quick read of the many articles, mitigation will require OS patches and firmware updates from Intel, AMD, Arm, etc. For Microsoft, the patch is dependent on having an approved AV application running that sets a compatibility registry key that Microsoft updates will reference. Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials are of course approved and can be used if nothing else is available.
Below are links to information for Microsoft, VMware, Apple, and AWS.
- Main Article: https://portal.msrc.microsoft.com/en-US/security-guidance/advisory/ADV180002
- Clients: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4073119/protect-against-speculative-execution-side-channel-vulnerabilities-in
- Servers: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4072698/windows-server-guidance-to-protect-against-the-speculative-execution
- Important: Windows security updates released January 3, 2018, and antivirus software – https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4072699
Windows Clients Impacted and Will be Patched
- Windows 10 (RTM, 1511, 1607, 1703, 1709)
- Windows 8.1
- Windows 7 SP1
Windows Servers Impacted and Will be Patched
- Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1
- Windows Server 2012 R2
- Windows Server 2016
VMWare (5.5, 6.5)
A new year brings changes around here. A new theme was applied to allow more area for content and images and to simplify the colors and layout.
In the fractured sleep of night’s immersed
in dreams based in nothing familiar or known,
one word repeated over and over – direct.
I watched power-less as background images
of tall buildings, lattice, and cross-stitched patterns
rotated and approached my view with ever increasing velocity.
At the end (or beginning) of a tunnel
bathed in wavering light with no sound
a shadow slowly approached.
The sides of the tunnel began to
move and rotate, grey lines
and intricate patterns covered everything.
and I briefly lost sight of the shadow
until something pushed me through
and I landed on the empty fields
near the forest where we first
met in ancient times and you
silently spoke directly to me.
When my mind becomes scattered,
when each of the thoughts I held
in my core is lost to the wind,
I seek out answers and resolutions
from the natural world.
On mornings when the grey sky
covers the sun and the forest
lives in its own green exterior,
the cold air lays upon the skin,
and you know that rain is near.
Each drop a fragment of some
larger being or existence beyond
this world and my body reacts to the cold
by reassembling the core and bringing
this being back into a whole form.
I woke in the fields.
The fields I have never seen.
The fields black beneath the white sun.
Limbs emerge from snow.
Snow scatters into the wind.
Wind twists the clouds around me.
From the horizon a train nears.
The horizon shakes and fractures.
The fractured fragments cover my mind.
I was not yet ready to awaken.
Another year on the calendar has passed and we celebrate. A celebration of accomplishments and of moving beyond events and moments we wish to forget and gain distance between.
But time has a plan for us. In the day-to-day scheme of life and the normal cycle, time is always moving forward. Ticking away at the same pace, always giving us 24 hours in each day to accomplish whatever we need to take care of. However, as a certain unit of time passes and in specific moments, we feel that time is going more slowly or more quickly. Does time change, or are we capable of controlling time, wrestling it back onto our path, the direction and plan we desire to follow?
I think at the end of each day, we and time set aside our differences, rest, and vow to continue the battle the next day. But what are we fighting for? What is our plan driving our actions, desiring some result, barreling toward some endgame? And what is left behind, what are the consequences, and who is impacted by our sphere of influence?
Regardless of time’s plan, and no matter what we do and the struggle we exert, time will visit each of us.
What we can do during the time we have, is to strive to become a better human than we were yesterday. To realize the sphere of influence we have on each other, and to make the most positive actions and results we can with the precious time we are given.
Across an empty field scorched
with morning light I see
shadows dancing along the treeline
filling empty spaces.
Is this my field?
I remember little prior to this moment
as winter has settled across the land
and in the depth of winter
we retreat into the awareness of self.
I seek warmth from the shadows
emerging from the scorched field.