Welcome to the Oregon FBI's Tech Tuesday segment. This week, building a digital defense against the latest cyber threat presented by the vulnerabilities in your computers and phones.
In recent days, there have been a number of media reports about two major flaws that are being called "Meltdown" and "Spectre". Almost all desktop computers, laptops, servers and cell phones are affected. These vulnerabilities could potentially allow hackers to access passwords, encryption keys and other sensitive data stored on your devices.
While the technical details of how the flaws can be exploited are complicated, the consumer response should not be. All of the major tech companies -- including Intel, Apple, Google and others -- are recommending that you download updates for the operating systems that are running your devices as well as any browser software that you use. To be clear, you should download those updates as soon as possible. The companies have already released some mitigation patches and will continue to do so in the weeks and months ahead.
As these patches come out, you should continue to remain vigilant about updating your devices and browsers. Now that these flaws are public, you can bet that cyber criminals are racing to write and launch exploits before consumers catch up. Even if you download updates today, the bad guys will continue to look for workarounds as fast as the tech companies can push out the fixes.
If you have any specific questions about your devices or the patches available, check with the manufacturer or service provider for guidance.
If you need more detail on any of these items, go to FBI.gov and type in the keywords "On the Internet" (https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/on-the-internet.)
If you have been victimized by an online scam, be sure to report it to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.