Two security flaws have been identified that affect virtually all computers and smart devices using Intel processor chips.
The first security flaw, dubbed Meltdown, could potentially allow hackers to read a computer's memory to steal passwords and other confidential information. In an interview with Reuters, researcher Daniel Gruss from Graz University of Technology described Meltdown as "probably one of the worst CPU bugs ever found." There are software patches available that resolve the Meltdown design flaw, but testing suggests those patches reportedly degrade processor speed between 5 and 30 percent.
The second bug, called Spectre, allegedly allow hackers to fool applications into providing secure information to malicious software applications. Security analysts suggest that Meltdown poses the more serious threat, but the Spectre bug will be more difficult to patch and the more serious longterm problem.
Fraud and identity theft are very serious threats to the financial security of the American people. After the recent security breach at Equifax was announced, the company's Twitter account directed consumers to a website where they could see if their confidential financial information had been exposed to hackers, but the Internet page to which they were sent was actually a fake "phishing" website itself!
The moral of this story is that lazy criminals want to steal your private information in order to steal your hard-earned money. Trust no one. Protect your wealth by freezing your credit, or using a credit monitoring service that insures against loss.