Phones, computers at risk! Is your device affected? 5 security flaws to personally watch out for

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New Delhi | Published: January 5, 2018 12:06:48 PM

With the two recently found security bugs - Meltdown and Spectre, the cyberspace has become even more prone to a blowout.

Two security bugs – Meltdown and Spectre put users at risk worldwide

With great technology, comes greater vulnerability. In today’s times, the less you know about the dangers of cyberspace, the more susceptible you become to malicious attacks. With the two recently found security bugs – Meltdown and Spectre, the cyberspace has become even more prone to a blowout. The newly found bugs could allow hackers to steal the entire memory contents of computers, including mobile devices, personal computers and servers running in so-called cloud computer networks. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has also issued guidance about Meltdown and Spectre, including advice on what people can do to protect themselves. So, here are the five security flaws that you need to be aware of to prevent security breaches of the virtual world.

1. Meltdown- It affects Intel chips and lets hackers bypass the hardware barrier between applications run by users and the computer’s memory, potentially letting hackers read a computer’s memory and steal passwords. According to the researchers, the Meltdown flaw affects virtually every microprocessor made by Intel, which makes chips used in more than 90 per cent of the computer servers that underpin the Internet and private business operations.

2. Spectre- It affects chips from Intel, AMD, and ARM and lets hackers potentially trick otherwise error-free applications into giving up secret information. There is no known fix for it, and it is not clear chip maker Intel will do to address the problem.

3. Phishing- It is an attempt to obtain users’ sensitive information, including credit card details and banking information, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an online communication. A new technique to bug ‘Vishing’ is also gaining traction these days. Vishing, or voice phishing, is an attempt by fraudsters to persuade the victim to deliver personal information or transfer money over the phone.

4. Pharming- It is a cyber attack meant to redirect a website’s traffic to another, a bogus one. This is seen as extremely dangerous by the experts because it can affect a large number of computers simultaneously.

5. Ransomware Encryption- The world recently witnessed two cases of ransomware encryption – Petya and WannaCry. It a type of malicious software that threatens to publish the victim’s data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid.

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