Linux Mint developers have published today a statement regarding the recently unearthed Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, informing users on how to keep their PCs secure.
Last week, two of the most severe security flaws were publicly disclosed as Meltdown and Spectre, affecting billions of devices powered by a modern processor from Intel, AMD, ARM, or Qualcomm. To mitigate these vulnerabilities, OEMs and OS vendors started a two and half months long battle to redesign software and kernels.
Almost all known operating systems are affected, and all web browsers. Linux Mint is one of the most popular GNU/Linux distributions out there with millions of users, but it hasn’t yet been patched against Meltdown and Spectre because it still relies on updates from the Ubuntu operating system.
“These vulnerabilities are critical. They expose all memory data present on the computer to any application running locally (including to scripts run by your web browser),” said Clement Lefebvre. “Consider securing access to your important data (your email account in particular) with two-factor authentication.”
Here’s how to protect your Linux Mint PCs
The Linux Mint devs said that they’ll soon release patches to mitigate both Meltdown and Spectre in Linux Mint 18.x and Linux Mint 17.x series, but, in the meantime, they urged users to update the Mozilla Firefox web browser to version 57.0.4 and NVIDIA proprietary graphics driver to version 384.111.
They also offer instructions for Google Chrome, Chromium, and Opera browsers, and recommend users to install upcoming QEMU and CPU microcode updates as soon as they’re available for their Linux Mint distribution. LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) users have already received a kernel patch for Meltdown and Spectre.
All LMDE users need to install the Linux 3.16.51-3+deb8u1 kernel and reboot their systems. The rest of the Linux Mint users will have to monitor their software repositories in the coming days for new kernel versions from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) that Canonical promised to release soon.
Meanwhile, they are continuing their efforts on adding new features to the upcoming Linux Mint 19 “Tara” operating system series, which will be based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), and they’re also preparing to release the LMDE 3 rolling release operating system this year. Stay tuned for more Linux Mint news soon, and keep your installations up to date at all times!