CPU and OS makers go on red alert over Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities

Patch it, patch it real good

Following the revelation by The Register that Intel chips had a serious security flaw, the race is on to beat the hackers who are no doubt working on taking advantage of the security hole. And it’s not just Intel chips that have a problem; some AMD and ARM CPUs are also vulnerable. On top of that, Apple says that pretty much every Mac, iMac, iPhone, and iPad are affected, and they’re working on patches for the problem.

Long story short, the flaws or bugs – which now have the rather villainous monikers of Meltdown and Spectre – could allow hackers to see the CPUs pull in passwords and other sensitive data from storage drives as they work to predict user’s actions. Yes, CPUs and software actually do that. Anyway, the issue has become a full-blown tech crisis and tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, Google and others are racing to close the window on the hackers with software patches.

While many people often wait to update their OS in case there’s some bugginess or other issues, everyone is pretty much saying the same thing right now: When your PC, phone or tablet says there’s an update ready, update it immediately. We’ve got many more details on the Spectre and Meltdown issues, so read up and update your tech ASAP.

Avoid laptop toast

Computer maker HP is facing another problem in addition to flawed Intel CPUs: reports of some HP laptops melting and charring from problems with their batteries have prompted a voluntary recall. HP has posted a list of the affected computers, with total about 50,000 units in the US and about 2600 machines in Canada. The models included in the list go back about two years. HP says the batteries could overheat and pose a burn and fire hazard.

They’ve also posted two downloadable utilities to check your computer to see if it is affected. Obviously, you’ll want to get your HP PC checked out, so go here to get started.

My work here is done

The man with the fattest rolodex in music is leaving Apple, according to numerous reports. Super-producer Jimmy Iovine, who helped craft Apple Music from the old iTunes model and was instrumental in acquiring the Beats by Dre headphone business, is reportedly exiting the Apple Spaceship in August. Coincidentally, that’s when his shares in Apple fully vest, likely making future income problems (if there ever were any) pretty much irrelevant.

According to Business Insider, Iovine never really was a very good fit at Tim Cook’s Apple, where some of his past remarks about women and music were cringe-worthy at best and apology-worthy at worst. Additionally, Apple is steering Apple Music more towards video these days, which is clearly not Iovine’s first love: He’s definitely more of a music guy. So what’s next for Jimmy? No word on specifics but we’d suspect his name will be on some hit records in the near future.

That’s it for this week and next week we’ll be doing DT Daily from the CES show in Las Vegas next week. Be sure to check out our CES preview and we’ll have all the big announcements right here starting on Monday, along with up-to-the second coverage on Digital Trends.com, Facebook and YouTube.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

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