We highlight current cyber security threats in New Zealand, and provide guidance on what to do if they affect you.

5:15pm, 8 January 2018

TLP Rating: Clear

Vulnerabilities in computer processors

Researchers have found several vulnerabilities in computer processors which may allow attackers to extract information from affected systems, including passwords and other sensitive data. These are called Meltdown and Spectre.

CERT NZ is not aware of any active attacks using these vulnerabilities, however we strongly recommend you protect yourself with the advice provided below as soon as practicable.

What's happening

Systems affected

It's safest to work on the basis that all systems may be affected,  due to the complex nature of the vulnerabilities. Hardware vulnerabilities may affect any device, such as:

  • computers
  • smart phones
  • tablets
  • routers, and
  • smart devices such as TVs.

Processors from Intel, AMD, and ARM are confirmed to be affected.

What this means

All computers and devices, such as cell phones, need to be updated. Updates protect against attacks which use vulnerabilities like these to steal sensitive information such as passwords.

What to look for

How to tell if you're at risk

The majority of devices are affected, as most devices use a processor from Intel, AMD, or ARM. 

What to do


Make sure all software on all your devices is up to date. Some updates have already been released, and more are expected to be released over the coming weeks and months.

In particular, ensure your operating system and browser are updated. If you have a device which is no longer receiving updates, you should consider upgrading or replacing it, to ensure you can get the latest security updates.

CERT NZ’s advice on end-of-life devices     

Updates have been issued (or will soon be issued) for:

  • Windows
  • MacOS
  • Linux
  • Android
  • Chrome browser and
  • Firefox.

See the US CERT's more comprehensive list. External Link

More information

If you require more information or further support, submit a report on our website or contact us on 0800 CERTNZ.

Report an incident to CERT NZ

The technical details of these vulnerabilities can be found at External Link  and External Link .