Free Red Hat clone CentOS Linux has received an important kernel security update that patches the Meltdown and Spectre exploits affecting billions of devices powered by modern processors.

The new kernel security patch is available for 64-bit (x86_64) installations of CentOS 7 and comes in the form of multiple packages that users need to install on their computers. As CentOS 7 is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, these security updates come from upstream as Red Hat recently patched the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in their supported OSes.

The packages in question are kernel-3.10.0-693.11.6.el7.x86_64.rpm, kernel-abi-whitelists-3.10.0-693.11.6.el7.noarch.rpm, kernel-debug-3.10.0-693.11.6.el7.x86_64.rpm, kernel-debug-devel-3.10.0-693.11.6.el7.x86_64.rpm, kernel-devel-3.10.0-693.11.6.el7.x86_64.rpm, and kernel-doc-3.10.0-693.11.6.el7.noarch.rpm.

The kernel-headers-3.10.0-693.11.6.el7.x86_64.rpm, kernel-tools-3.10.0-693.11.6.el7.x86_64.rpm, kernel-tools-libs-3.10.0-693.11.6.el7.x86_64.rpm, kernel-tools-libs-devel-3.10.0-693.11.6.el7.x86_64.rpm, perf-3.10.0-693.11.6.el7.x86_64.rpm, and python-perf-3.10.0-693.11.6.el7.x86_64.rpm packages also need to be updated.

Users are urged to update their systems immediately

CentOS maintainer Karanbir Singh recommends all CentOS 7 Linux users to install these packages on their systems as soon as possible after reading this, and also tell others to do the same as the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities have a huge impact and affect us all.

“This is a widespread issue with potentially huge impact, we appreciate any help in spreading the word around so maximum number of users are able to find out, and patch their systems,” said Karanbir Singh. “Please reach out to us at #centos on for any feedback, comments, questions or concerns.”

Those who are using the older, yet still maintained CentOS 6 Linux operating system series have also received this important kernel security update that addresses the Meltdown and Spectre exploits. More details on the packages you need to update on your CentOS 6 installations can be found here. In addition to these patches, Intel also promises updates that make PCs immune to Meltdown and Spectre.