Software and hardware vendors, and others in the information technology industry, are discovering new vulnerabilities that create massive cyber security flaws in nearly every computer and device in existence.

Meltdown and Spectre are two recently-discovered vulnerabilities.

The WVU Medicine Information Technology (IT) team searches for vulnerabilities and then applies the appropriate corrective patches to operating systems, databases, and applications.

WVU Medicine providers and employees should take the same precautions with their home computers, smart phones, smart TVs, and other devices.

The best remedy is to routinely apply software updates to these devices. Look for new releases from Microsoft, Apple, Adobe Reader, Microsoft Office products, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and others, and upgrade in a timely manner. This is the best protection against exploitation of known vulnerabilities by criminal hackers.

Vendors routinely update their operating systems and applications in an effort to protect the devices by improving security controls or features. Hardware vendors also release updates or patches to their firmware, which is the hardcoded boot-up programming and configuration, for personal computers, laptops, smart phones, routers, and other hardware devices.

Your home network may include devices like video cameras or smart refrigerators. Remember, devices like these will need to be patched and their operating systems and applications need to be kept current by you or your vendor.

Any unpatched hardware or software with known vulnerabilities that you use at home can be used by criminals to capture your identity or other confidential information.

Patching or upgrading your hardware and software is your best protection at home.