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Security patch problems put users at risk

23 January 2018 - 10:58 by Simon Crisp

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After the news that billions of computers, tablets and smartphones were vulnerable to a pair of processor flaws emerged earlier this month, tech firms were quick to announce the introduction of updates designed to restore security.

However, after customers began reporting crashes caused by the patch, Microsoft had to go back to the drawing board and find a new way to fix this issue, according to the Telegraph.

The two vulnerabilities, known as Meltdown and Spectre, impact any device with a chipset made by Intel, ARM and AMD. This makes them nearly universal in their reach, hence the widespread need for patching.

Microsoft released a statement in which it said that it was putting the rollout on hold to prevent users being unable to boot their devices at all, as had been reported in some quarters.

This leaves people across the UK in limbo, since they may wonder whether it is possible to carry out safe shopping online even after they have installed the revised patch. Passwords, private data and personal details of all kinds could be stolen if the flaws are left unchecked, so the threat of fraud and identity theft remains high.

Some have suggested that devices should be recalled to avoid this state of affairs continuing, although the logistics of doing so would make this tactic untenable.

During the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month an Intel executive said that patches should be available for the vast majority of vulnerable devices within seven days, although with Microsoft’s patch creating issues as well as solving them, it is not necessarily smooth sailing for consumers this month.

Vigilance against cybercrime in all its forms is necessary for people who want to enjoy safe shopping online and to keep sensitive data out of reach of malicious third parties.