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.

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.

Microsoft Information

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

Apple

VMWare (5.5, 6.5)

AWS

I am an old-school programmer whose job does not require development anymore. Still, I have a few websites, and am interested in new technologies and methodologies. With a database background and most days filled with ad-hoc query requests, reports, and integration between multiple systems, building a front-end users would save me and them a lot of time.

With a preference toward Microsoft technologies I have settled on the following development environment and have started with these resources.

Environment

  1. Windows 7 Pro
  2. Visual Studio 2013 Premium
  3. Microsoft WebMatrix 3
  4. Local SQL databases for initial learning and development
  5. Windows Azure and SQL 2014 for testing and deployment

Resources

  1. Microsoft SQL Server 2014: Query Tuning and Optimization
  2. Microsoft Azure SQL Database: Step by Step
  3. Introduction Microsoft SQL Server 2014: Technical Overview

This website has provided a great overview of C#, CSS, HTML5, Razor and connecting to databases.

Web Development Using WebMatrix

Microsoft recently purchased the company behind the Acompli email app, now renamed to Outlook.  While it is available for Android, I have only used the iOS version.  It took only a couple hours of usage before I stopped using the iOS mail app and moved all of my accounts to Acompli.

The interface is clean and it automatically organizes emails into Focused and Other lists which I have found very useful.

One of my accounts connects to Exchange 2010.  I found Acompli, before the acquisition, to be more stable better performant than iOS for accessing emails, responding to event request, and calendars in general.

Website: https://www.acompli.com