Meltdown and Spectre are computer security vulnerabilities that affect intel, AMD and ARM processors. So how exactly these processor security flaws could risk your cryptocurrency personal wallets?
Meltdown and Spectre
These vulnerabilities target a very important functionality embedded in every modern computer processor. Every modern computer processor uses Speculative Execution for faster processing. In fact the enhanced processing power of modern computers is due to this technique of speculative execution. But unfortunately, the most pressing security aspects of this performance booster, as it seems were not effectively tested by manufacturers.
How Speculative Execution is Exploited?
Speculative execution is the method used by computer processors to predict certain computer processes based on previous patterns. Through this method, processors guess future processes and execute these processes to save precious resources. This method is highly effective in performance enhancement. But, the problem arises when the predicted process becomes useless, in this case, this predicted process needs to be dumped into processor cache. Attackers can easily exploit this step by accessing the dumped data by side channels. This way, almost every operating system running vulnerable hardware may give sensitive information to attackers.
How Cryptocurrency Funds are at Risk?
People who keep their cryptocurrency funds in online web wallets, desktop or mobile wallets are clearly at risk. The widespread vulnerability from Meltdown and Spectre is not limited to certain applications. It affects every system running intel, AMD and ARM micro processors. Users that regularly use cryptocurrency software wallets are particularly at risk. Malware using Meltdown and Spectre can easily steal sensitive information and with it any cryptocurrency funds stored in the software wallets.
Therefore, it is highly recommended to download operating system patches for these critical vulnerabilities as soon as possible. Another easy way around this problem is to use a hardware cryptocurrency wallet like Asicvault, Ledger or Trezor. Hardware wallets keep your funds isolated and away from internet, thus providing extra security.