It seems that these kind of problems come up with monotonous regularity. Some company or other (I’m looking at you Equifax), has a security screw-up, or even the hallowed Apple leaves a gaping hole in its password protection.
But this Intel problem feels different to me. Ok, for the moment we’re not even entirely sure what the problem is, other than that it’s serious and affects just about every computer on the planet. It’s a different scale of problem – something so monumental that, for now at least, we can literally forget about it.
Put it this way, if you were a hacker (and somehow knew how to take advantage of this mysterious problem) would you be going after some high-profile, high-value targets or just the PC or Mac of some ordinary Joe? For the vast majority of us, we’re never going to be targeted by the sort of hackers that can take advantage of this flaw. It’s simply never gonna happen.
So we can relax, right? Yes, more or less. Obviously, once the patch comes out – and it will – you should install it straightaway. You should never knowingly leave your computer unprotected. But in the meantime, what should your anxiety level be? About the same level as your concern that the sun is one day going to expand and swallow up the earth. It’s a problem that’s totally unconnected to your daily existence.
I can understand why the big news outlets have to publish stories about these kind of flaws, but I think they’d do better to explain what they mean to regular people. There’s absolutely no reason to be concerned.