Last week, two substantial software flaws were unearthed to the technological public to much alarm. The vulnerabilities, dubbed Meltdown and Spectre by their finders, exploit weaknesses in the computer processors (CPUs) used in most of the world's PCs, smartphones, and data hubs. These developments have raised questions the world over about the security of private data, leaving the cryptocurrency community wondering what this may mean for the safety of personal wallet funds and exchange reserves.
Implications for the Crypto Realm
Together, Meltdown and Spectre attacks can affect processing chips produced by Intel, AMD, and ARM, and its discoverers have called them "the worst GPU bugs ever found." According to the researchers who discovered the flaws, the attacks can steal information from services and applications that a computer's GPU processes:
"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."
Michael Schwarz, one of the vulnerabilities' discoverers, illustrates how Meltdown works in a visual tweet: