Spectre And Meltdown Explained. Amazon Go Opens.

We chatting about the major implications of Spectre and Meltdown.  Both of these vulnerabilities in computer security are critical to understand, both from a technical side and a user security side.  Spectre and Meltdown tear at the fundamental core of how we build and operate our computing systems over the past twenty years.  Amazon Go opened in Seattle with much praise and excitement, showing that a grocery store can function without checkout lines and workers.  Microsoft is attempting to capitalize in the classroom by introducing new laptops for educators and students.  The question remains – why are they so late and why are they so behind.  Montana introduces the first ever state based net neutrality regulations for ISPs to follow, a first major step in protecting equal access to information, data, and services.

Why Spectre and Meltdown Are Critical to Understand

Google’s Project Zero found one of the largest vulnerabilities in central processing units (CPUs), a vulnerability that tears at the foundation of the basics of computing and computer security.  With the ability to attack CPUs, every chip in every device over the past 20 years is susceptible to attack.  Check out the four links provides below in Resources for additional details and readings.  As news continues to roll in, this is what we know at the moment.

  • Spectre targets process memory and Meltdown targets kernel memory
  • Spectre breeches branch prediction; Meltdown intercepts speculative execution
  • Such CPU design standards (i.e. prediction) are manufactured into every chip today
  • JavaScript can be tricked into giving hacker user/password information
  • Update your mobile devices, tablets, desktops, and browsers for security patches

Get In Line at Amazon Go – Sounds Funny

In December 2016, Amazon tested the waters by using technologies such as computer vision, sensor fusion, and more to open a store without workers and without checkout lines.  After working on the concept and technology a bit more, Amazon Go is now officially open for business in Seattle.

  • The 1,800 square foot store offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack items
  • Customers enter store, scan in their Amazon account, choose their items, and leave
  • Amazon is beginning to redefine the shopping experience with this store concept
  • The storefront is ideal in highly populated, highly dense regions of the United States

Microsoft Playing Check Up in Education

Ten years ago, Microsoft was so well positioned to dominate the classroom and educational spaces across the country.  Their presence was felt in institutions, libraries, and classrooms.  After failing to capitalize on introduce quality laptops and products, they are fighting to get back in the game with new Windows 10 laptops.

  • The price point of $189 (100e) and $279 (300e) is attractive in the industry
  • Microsoft struggles to keep future generations within a system of software and services
  • Google Chromebooks and Google Classroom dominate with over 50% covered
  • There’s always a place for Microsoft in the classroom but to what extent is the question

State-Based Net Neutrality Regulations Coming to Montana

The Democratic Governor of Montana, Steve Bullock, signed an executive order requiring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) under state contracts to adhere to net neutrality regulations moving forward.  It’s a great start to a major movement across the tech industry to save equal access to information and data.

  • The FCC’s decision to roll back Federal regulations prompted this move in Montana
  • Montana has hundreds of contracts in place with ISP delivery service to state agencies
  • This move protects rural schools, hospitals, universities, care centers, and more
  • New York, Rhode Island, Washington, and other states are drafting new regulations too


Spectre and Meltdown Explained

Tech Giants Scramble for Patches

The Average Guy Podcast – Technical Breakdown

Intel Tells Users to Stop Deploying Spectre Patch

First Amazon Go Opens

Microsoft challenges Chromebooks

Montana Introduces First State Specific Net Neutrality Rules

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