Patch Management: Hewlett Packard Enterprise and VMware Patch for Spectre and Meltdown

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The Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities are putting businesses at risk worldwide — including your business.

Here’s the latest update on Spectre and Meltdown, what you should do to protect your business and why patch management is so critical to cyber security today.

What Are Spectre and Meltdown?

Spectre and Meltdown are variations of the same computer chip vulnerability. Discovered in late 2017, they affect every computer chip manufactured in the last 20 years.

Spectre and Meltdown expose organizations to dangerous attacks. If exploited, they allow attackers to access data that was previously protected.

For example, JavaScript code on a website could use Spectre to trick a web browser into revealing user and password information. Hackers could use Meltdown to view all user data hosted on the same hardware — a significant problem for cloud service providers.

How to Protect Your Business

Intel released microcode to fix the Spectre and Meltdown issues. However, the microcode that was supposed to patch the problem caused reboots and system instability, resulting in data loss or corruption for some. In response, Intel discontinued the code.

Intel’s faulty code caused a chain reaction. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and VMware had already released patches based on Intel code. They pulled their patches as a result.

Microsoft’s Security Update

In response, Microsoft issued a rare weekend security update that enabled users and IT administrators to disable Intel’s code for Spectre variant 2.

While Intel is working on deploying a new microcode, Microsoft’s security update bypasses Intel and disables the specific behavior of devices affected by the microcode.

How to Create a Proactive Patch Management Strategy

Spectre and Meltdown. WannaCry. Discontinued patches. Microsoft updates. It’s a lot to keep up with.

Nearly every modern company relies on IT infrastructure to save money and enhance business performance. But new technology creates more risk.

Patches are pieces of software that update a computer program or data. They fix bugs, security vulnerabilities and improve usability and performance.

Patch management is a proactive way to protect your business from malicious attacks, including the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. But it requires constant vigilance.

Here are the core steps to an effective patch management strategy:

  • Assess vulnerability. Inventory your IT environment. Document every asset so you can monitor patch updates and apply them when necessary.
  • Identify and download patches. Document the services and applications that will be impacted to ensure the right patches are implemented.
  • Test often. You can deploy patches in a test environment to troubleshoot any problems before rolling them out to your network.
  • Deploy and verify. Check the patches after deploying them to verify they were applied successfully.

A robust patch management strategy shields your business from security risks and keeps your systems running at optimum levels.

But patch management is often overlooked due to time and resource constraints. There are software solutions that you can use in-house, but these products get costly as your business grows and still require significant internal resources to implement properly.

Patch Management

At Helixstorm, network security is a top priority. We have dashboards, software and patch management systems in place to ensure a missed patch never compromises your network.

Give us a call to see how we can help secure your business.