Month: January 2018

“Ransomware” makes it into the Oxford English Dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary has taken note of some IT related words.

For 1, Ransomware is defined now as:

A type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

Another new word is “esc”, that is coined by Apple devices. Instead of “Esc” which would be for the PC’s (Dell, HP, etc)

Also “Selfie” and something sounding like someones grandad would use “e-shopping” got into the OED

CPU Kernel Bug: Security issue for millions

You may have heard of a bug in computers that could cause a problem with security. I have gathered some information below to help you understand the problem.

So what is the problem?

The processors kernel is providing a way for memory to be read, by a malicious entity. It could be a hacker or app that reads the memory.

Intel have reported: “these exploits do not have the potential to corrupt, modify or delete data,” However, the act of reading memory could give a route for hackers to read passwords, login details, ciphers and a lot more sensitive data (basically that goes through the processor).

What or who is affected?

At the moment, everyone with a X86 CPU, made by Intel, in the past decade is at risk.

Do you have AMD, ARM or another CPU? You might still be at risk as the instruction sets for x86 are shared between manufacturers, but for AMD, certainly the other big player in the market, they are only slightly affected (

For ARM, 64 bit processors, there is a Linux kernel patch being developed

I’ll be OK, I have a Mac

You’re wrong this time I’m afraid. Macs also use x86 technology and they’ll need patching, although if you’re up to date with macOS (10.13.2) then you’ll be OK. That patch was released Dec 6th. Further updates will be made in 10.13.3.

Is there anything I can do?

Only make sure your PC is up to date with all OS updates, especially security updates.

Microsoft plan dropping an update on us around the 9th Jan, so look for updates then as well as now!

Don’t install dodgy apps, be careful on what websites you click on, don’t click on click bait. If someone sends you a link that you’re not expecting then ask them if it was them who actually sent the email!

What is a CPU?

Central Processing Unit – Made up of lots of transistors, LOTS, approximately 700million for modern CPUs they control logic and calculate the commands from the kernel.

What is a kernel?

A Kernel is inside a microchip that controls instructions going into your CPU as well as what comes out of it. It’s basically in control of your entire system.