Melted Computer

Last week two significant computer bugs were announced. They have been dubbed Meltdown and Spectre. These bugs take advantage of a flaw in many modern computers that exists at the processor or CPU level. This flaw has to do with the way that companies like Intel and AMD have used to make their processors run faster. Even very technical people can find it difficult to wrap their heads around how these bugs work, because the flaws have to do with the very lowest level processes in the computer. Rather than bore you with the specific details of the flaw, I want to give you some information about what to do about it.

Meltdown and Spectre exploit critical vulnerabilities in modern processors. These hardware vulnerabilities allow programs to steal data which is currently processed on the computer. While programs are typically not permitted to read data from other programs, a malicious program can exploit Meltdown and Spectre to get hold of secrets stored in the memory of other running programs. This might include your passwords stored in a password manager or browser, your personal photos, emails, instant messages and even business-critical documents." Meltdown and Spectre (or "SpecDown") are both flaws that permit an application to read privileged memory

Who is affected by these exploits?

Both bugs are found at the hardware-level within the processor. Intel's chips are the most widely vulnerable; however, devices carrying AMD and ARM chips are susceptible too, along with Apple's A-series of chips. While a list of every affected chip is not immediately available, reports are available indicating that Intel's design flaw dates back to 1995.

Every Operating System is affected. 

  • Windows has had a series of patches earmarked as "2018-01" released.
  • Linux has been updated to mitigate the attacks;
  • macOS has been hardened as part of its 10.13.2. 

This is only half of the solution, however; please read below.

How can I deal with this?

As Meltdown and Spectre are two different vulnerabilities affecting both Hardware and Software between them, there is no single mitigation step that can be taken to guarantee complete protection against these issues.

Update OS – Windows: Microsoft has published patches as part of their January cumulative update (legacy term: "rollup"). These patches are only being supplied for supported operating systems.

As such, please only expect Microsoft patches for:

  • Windows 7 SP1 (not SP0)
  • Windows 8.1 (not 8.0)
  • Windows 10

Please note that there are certain circumstances where Microsoft Windows will not show the 2018-01 update despite appearing to meet all the requirements; the SpecDown fix alters the manner in which Windows works, and this can potentially cause issues with Antivirus suites. So you may have to update your anti-virus before you can run the Microsoft update.

Update BIOS/uEFI:

You will probably need to update your BIOS or Firmware. However, there may not be an update available. This update will need to come from the manufacturer. This could be Dell or HP if you have a name brand computer. If not, you may have to get the update from the processor OEM, such as Intel or AMD. If you have an older computer, chances are that there will not be an update created for it at all.


The point is that this is a complicated fix. To make matters worse, there will be lots of bad or erroneous advice on many websites, so be careful about the source of information that you use and especially any files that you download. Only download files from websites that are trust worthy and always scan any downloaded files to make sure that they do not contain viruses.  If you need help, give us a call.


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Hi I am Joan Wright, I am the Executive Director here at McGregor Housing Authority and I also run Moody Housing Authority. I have been with Ultimate IT Guys for a little over a year. We are from a small community and we just don’t have much for computer support in this area. I met him down at Texas Housing Association and he has done a wonderful job for us. His service is 24/7, all I have to do is pick up a phone and call him. One of his support staff is always happy to work with us. Right now he is looking at my site to for Security Cameras and also doing a Website for us. I have all my faith in Ultimate IT Guys they do a wonderful job.

Joan Wright
Executive Director
McGregor Housing Authority
Moody Housing Authority

We have been very pleased and impressed with the services and product advice we have received from Ultimate IT Guys. They provided a big picture view of our business risk, then broke it down into actionable details through the assessments and the reports they provided to us. All very professional and informative but still in layman's language in a way that anyone can understand it.

Mike Chapman
Executive Director
Lubbock Housing Authority
Lubbock, TX


Ultimate IT Guys have truly been a big help to Trinidad Housing Authority for the past 5 years. From keeping our computer systems up to date and virus free, to their excellent customer service. When we have an issue with our computer software or hardware, there is never a wait and they are always there to help, and at very reasonable prices.

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Trinidad Housing Authority
Trinidad Texas

I highly recommend the Ultimate IT Guys to anyone who needs IT support services. They have consistently given us excellent service at a reasonable price. They know the needs of PHA’s, and are particularly well suited to filling the IT needs of housing authorities who are not large enough to have their own in-house staff. They can do virtually all the work they need to do remotely, so there is no waiting for an IT tech to show up. Our experience with The Ultimate IT Guys has all been positive, they have been a pleasure to do business with!

Don Eaves,
Executive Director
Overton Texas Housing Authority

I am very pleased with the service Mr. Davis and his team at Ultimate IT Guys provide. He is professional, thorough, and supports our industry with a high degree of integrity. He is available and has always helped me with IT problems in a timely manner. I feel I am very knowledgeable about technology and could do some of the same tasks Mr. Davis performs, however it is beneficial to me that my staff can call him with issues so we can be more productive and focus on housing needs instead of computer/technology related issues and back-ups.

I would highly recommend Mr. Davis and his company.

Thank you,

Kimberly Gholson
Executive Director
Waurika Housing Authority

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