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Close to the Metal Ep. 42: Batten the hatches, your system is under siege

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Our systems have been under attack for the last week. Well, they’re always under attack, but with three major security incidents, one of which was a widespread problem, and a targeted political attack on the French presidential election, it’s important to stay on top of what’s happening to protect your digital life.

First, a Google Doc scam caught untold numbers in its web. Midday on Wednesday, May 3rd, users began seeing emails advising them a friend wanted to share a Google Doc with them. Unannounced files should always raise a red flag, but this seemingly simple phishing attempt slipped past Google’s defenses, and the only sign it wasn’t a legitimate email was a string of the same letter as the email address in the cc field.

Then, Intel confirmed a rumor swirling around for the last week or two, after a supposedly massive issue in the company’s chips had been found that affected every modern Intel CPU for the last ten years. The fixes are already on their way to OEMs, but countless machines are affected by the issue, and only an update will solve it.

Yesterday, Google Project Zero researchers took to Twitter to announce a massive remote code execution they had found in Windows. That was all the information they shared in their fire emoji-laden Tweets.

I think @natashenka and I just discovered the worst Windows remote code exec in recent memory. This is crazy bad. Report on the way. ????????????

— Tavis Ormandy (@taviso) May 6, 2017

The report has yet to show up in public, but late last night Microsoft issued a patch addressing a potentially dangerous remote code execution that slipped straight past Windows Defender. It has since been identified as the hole Project Zero found, and the implications for non-updated systems are sever.

Close to the Metal is a podcast from Digital Trends that takes a deep dive into computing and PC gaming topics. Each show, we’ll focus in on one topic, and leave no stone unturned as we show off the latest in hardware and software. Whether it’s the latest GPU, supercomputers, or which 2-in-1 you should buy,  we break down the complicated jargon and talk about how user experience is affected in the real world. Please subscribe, share, and send your questions to We broadcast the show live on YouTube every Tuesday at 1pm EST/10am PST.

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