ZombieLoad affects Intel processors made since 2011, so if you have a device that uses an Intel processor, read this article to find out how to protect it. Recently, AMD officially confirmed that its processors are not affected by ZombieLoad, so it appears that it’s an Intel-only vulnerability.
What is ZombieLoad?
The ZombieLoad attack allows stealing sensitive data and and passwords while the computer accesses them. Also known as CVE-2018-12130, ZombieLoad uses flaws in how CPUS handle “zombie loads” – which are high amounts of data that the processor cannot properly deal with. These loads cause the processor to use elements of its microcode to prevent the whole PC crashing. This load can contain sensitive data from apps and programs, and the flaw allows this information to be accessed.
Am I Infected?
Unfortunately, there’s currently no easy way to tell if you’re affected by the ZombieLoad flaw. Also, antivirus software and internet security can’t identify the flaw. However, if you use a device that runs on an Intel processor that you bought after 2011, it’s very likely that you are vulnerable to ZombieLoad. This means PCs, Macs, and Intel-based tablets are all vulnerable. It’s safest to assume at this point that you are vulnerable to ZombieLoad unless you exclusively use devices that run on AMD or ARM processors.
For now, there is no evidence that this flow was used by any hackers but you should prevent being hacked by following solutions depending on your device.
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How to protect my device from the ZombieLoad?
While most Android devices run on ARM hardware and won’t be affected by ZombieLoad. Any Android device using Intel hardware will need to apply the patches, according to Google.
These patches will be supplied by the hardware manufacturer of the Android device, not Google. So you can manually check for updates. Open the settings app on your Android device, go to “About Phone” then press “Update” and see if you can find new updates waiting for you.
Windows PCs and laptops are likely to be hit hardest by ZombieLoad, as a huge majority of them will be running on Intel hardware. ZombieLoad affects all the versions of Windows even windows 10. But the good news is that Microsoft has already released a security update for Windows 10,8.1,7, XP.
Windows 10 should download the update automatically, but to be sure, check the update manually. You can also download the fix for ZombieLoad from the Microsoft Support website.
How to protect Firefox and Chrome against ZombieLoad
Mozilla has also said that it is working on a long-term fix for its Firefox web browser for macOS, and Firefox Beta and Firefox Nightly versions have the patch already installed. According to Mozilla, no action is needed for Windows and Linux users of Firefox.
If you use Google’s Chrome web browser, then Google suggests you make sure the operating system runs on (be it Windows, Linux or macOS) is updated with the latest updates.