Spectre & Meltdown to a normal person

What do these latest Intel/AMD/ARM/etc CPU problems actually mean? Likely nothing for most users- provided nothing runs on your computer that you can’t trust.

So, what does this actually mean to you? If you are the only person to use your computer at one time- most likely relatively little, as long as you can trust the programs running.

These issues break down to this: If someone else is on your computer at the same time, they might be able to see what you’re doing in somewhat plausible conditions.

Still confused? Let me break it down a little more- for people who don’t have PhDs in nerdology.

If you were a child in the 1970s, or 1980s, you might remember those handheld walkie-talkie units that ran on batteries. If someone in your neighborhood had the same model- there was a good chance you could hear each-other when you weren’t talking to them, even if you didn’t mean to. If you were talking to your buddy in the treehouse, and someone else had one built similarly, they possibly heard you.

Were you an early 90s child rocking the bangles and HyperColor shirts? It was exactly the same, but for wireless landline phones.

This is what is possibly happening on your computer.

If you’re all there, nearby, and someone is “snooping”, there’s a chance that someone could “listen in”.

To come back to today: How you phone, tablet, Echo, or whatever- know when you talk to it? It’s listening to you. These people are evesdropping on it while it’s listening to you.

What these “patches” do is to essentially turn off the mic when you let go of the key, to return to a simplex analogy.

They essentially make it so that it can’t listen in; You have to press the button to tell it what you want it to do. It does slow down things quite a bit, but does make things more secure.