Computer security analysts have discovered two security flaws on computer chips that make them vulnerable to hackers.

​Meltdown and Spectre: The Two Flaws that Necessitate Firmware Update
An Intel PC chip: Meltwdown and Spectre vulnerabilities on processor chips can allow hackers to obtain confidential information.

The vulnerabilities, named Meltdown and Spectre, can be exploited by hackers to allow them steal memory content such as photos, documents, among other data.

This can happen on PCs, Macs, mobile devices and servers.

Both Meltdown and Spectre were discovered by Jann Horn, a security analyst at Google Project Zero.

Meltdown poses a problem to cloud computing services such as those run by Amazon and Google.

Hackers on a cloud computing service can take advantage of the Meltdown flaw to obtain information such as passwords from other users on the service.

Meltdown has been found to affect almost every chip manufactured by Intel.

While Meltdown specifically affects Intel chips, Spectre is a design flaw across almost all processors in the market, including Intel, AMD and ARM.

Spectre is more difficult to deal with since it would require redesigning processor chips.

This means Spectre will be here with us until a new generation of chips comes into the market.

To address the security risks,  Microsoft has released patches which its Windows OS users will need to download and install from the company’s websites.

Linux has also posted a patch users can download to address the security risks.

Apple has released partial updates for iOS, Macs and Apple TV,  and is expected to release comprehensive patches later on.

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The best way to reduce chances of being a victim of hacking via the two flaws is to ensure your OS and software are up-to-date.

You might also want to read on other measures you can take to minimize the likelihood of being hacked.

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