This quick article is being written to inform attorneys and law firms that they need to run immediate security updates on their various digital devices. On January 3rd, 2018 security experts found two major flaws in the architecture of microprocessors used in the overwhelming majority of the world’s digital devices. These two bugs, which are being referred to as “Meltdown” and “Spectre”could theoretically allow hackers to steal the entire memory contents of personal computers running Windows, Mac OS, or Linux, as well as the memory of mobile devices. At first it was thought that these issues were specific to Intel chips but it is now known that the Spectre bug specifically will impact all systems. Fortunately, you will be receiving security patches soon so that you don’t wind up in a situation which looks like this:
Microsoft is issuing an emergency patch for Windows 10 today which will help deal with Meltdown. Older versions of Windows are expected to see updates this coming Tuesday. If you’re still running Windows XP (which a surprising number of people are) then it’s important that you upgrade to a new version of Windows as XP hasn’t been supported for years. Other vendors are also rolling out patches. So, it is important that you immediately apply software updates for your devices as they become available.
One thing to understand is that most computing devices will run noticeably slower after these software updates are applied. This is due to the fact that, in layperson terms, the bugs we’re talking about are at the hardware level. In other words, software is being used to secure a vulnerability that has existed in microprocessors for quite a while. So if you see your computing devices running noticeably slower after these updates just realize it’s to be expected.
We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming next Tuesday. Given that law firms are notoriously bad with technology, and are often slow to apply software updates, we thought it was important to address this.