On January 3rd, of 2018, two industry-wide hardware-based vulnerabilities were disclosed, they are known as the Meltdown and Spectre exploits. These vulnerabilities affect almost all personal and business-class Intel, AMD and ARM processors (CPU’s) manufactured since January 1995. If exploited, these vulnerabilities do not allow a hacker to gain remote access to a device, instead they allow a hacker to gain information stored in the memory of the device. This might include passwords stored in a password manager or browser, photos, emails, instant messages and even business-critical documents. These vulnerabilities can be exploited remotely from the internet.
On the flip side, the vulnerabilities are hardware-based and obviously everyone can’t replace the CPU in all their devices. So, Operating System providers are developing software patches to address these hardware vulnerabilities. As mentioned above, there is no indication of anyone exploiting these vulnerabilities currently.