Flaw found puts nearly all computers, smartphones, tablets at higher risk of hacking

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CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — Computer security experts found a flaw in the software that’s in nearly every computer, smartphone and tablet.

That means all your information is at a higher risk of getting accessed by hackers.

The issue stems from a processing chip from Intel inside most computers, smartphones and tablets.

The numbers don’t lie; we love our screens. Studies show about 80 percent of Americans have a smartphone and 84 percent own a computer.

More and more, we store our information on these devices, from Social Security numbers to bank account passwords, private data that we don’t want anyone else to see.

But, computer security experts found out that information we may assume is secure could be more tenuous. Two major software flaws could open the door for hackers to get anything they want off your device, and because it’s in the chip, the heart of the device, you may not even know you’ve been hacked.

To put yourself in danger, you need to open the door for hackers to access your software, said Tom Gorup, the director of security operations at Rook Security, a cybersecurity firm in Carmel.

Taking precautions could pump the brakes on a hack.

“Risk is a little bit lower, but it’s still there,” he said.

Don’t download anything from someone you don’t know and don’t go onto risky websites. Gorup said it’s far from the last time we’ll learn about a software flaw. Plus, with more devices becoming smart, from refrigerators to cars to thermostats, it becomes more important for us to smarten up on technology.

“These types of vulnerabilities are going to become more of a problem as they go forward because we’re starting to bring that more and more closer to home,” Gorup said.

He said you should download any software updates that relate to Meltdown, which is the name of one of the two software flaws.

But some security experts said the update to protect your device could slow it down by 30 percent.

The other flaw is called Spectre, and tech experts are working to come up with an update.