How to protect your Linux PC from Meltdown CPU bug

Meltdown is a CPU bug that hackers can use to steal personal info and passwords.

If you have been following the recent news in the Tech industry, you might be aware of the Meltdown and Spectre exploit critical vulnerabilities in modern processors. These CPU bugs allows bad hackers to steal data processed on the running computer. Typically, programs are not allowed to read data from other programs, but a malicious program can be used to get hold of secrets stored in the memory of other running programs. This might include your passwords stored in a password manager or browser, and any other such personal data. Complete information about the CPU bug is available in the source website provided at the end of article.

How to prevent attacks on Linux PCs

Meltdown bug exists only on Intel CPUs manufactured from past decade, which implies pretty much all Intel CPU based computer. AMD based computers are not affected by this hack, so you don’t need to do anything.

Linux Kernel version 4.14.11, as well as Rawhide (kernel 4.15 release candidate) updates have fixes to the Meltdown bug. So all you have to do is update your Linux PC to this kernel to safe guard against Meltdown. But note that kernel update is not yet available for all Linux distros. I still suggest you to keep trying regularly.

Fix Meltdown Bug in Fedora and derivatives

Luckily, new kernel packages are available for Fedora already which contain fixes for the exploit and good news is that the maintainers have submitted updates to the stable repos. Follow below steps to immediately update your Fedora system.

STEP 1: Launch ‘Terminal’ and check the Linux Kernel version first.

uname -r

If the version is lesser than 4.14.11, you need to update! Here is how:

sudo dnf --refresh update kernel

Pay attention to the Terminal and enter ‘Y’ requested.

Fedora System Update
Fedora System Update

Restart computer to see new kernel.

sudo reboot

Congrats! You are protected against Meltdown bug!

Fix Meltdown Bug in Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and derivatives

STEP 1: Launch ‘Terminal’ and check the Linux Kernel version first.

uname -r

If the version is lesser than 4.14.11, you need to update! Here is how:

Enter the following commands one after the another.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo shutdown -r 0

Canonical has released an update with the fix. So you should be good to go.

Users are urged to update their systems to linux-image 4.13.0.31.33 on Ubuntu 17.10, linux-image 4.4.0.112.118 on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, linux-image 3.13.0.141.151 on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, linux-image-4.13.0-31 4.13.0-31.34~16.04.1 on Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS (HWE), linux-image-4.4.0-111 4.4.0-111.134~14.04.1 on Ubuntu 14.04.5 LTS (HWE), and linux-image-3.13.0-140-generic 3.13.0-140.189~precise1 on Ubuntu 12.04 ESM.

Fix the Meltdown on an Arch Linux and Manjaro Linux

Arch Linux and Manjaro Linux users can also can protect their PCs immediately as the new kernel is available!

STEP 1: Launch ‘Terminal’ and check the Linux Kernel version first.

uname -r

If the version is lesser than 4.14.11, you need to update! Here is how:

pacman -Syu

It should take sometime to update and you will see Linux Kernel 4.14.11.~ get downloaded if you pay attention to the downloads in the Terminal. After installation is complete, restart your PC.

Manjaro Linux Update
Manjaro Linux Update

sudo reboot

That’s it!

Kiran Kumar
Hi there! I'm Kiran Kumar, founder of FOSSLinux.com. I'm an avid Linux lover and enjoy hands-on with new promising distros. Currently, I'm using Ubuntu as a daily driver and run several other distros such as Fedora, Solus, Manjaro, Debian, and some new ones on my test PC and virtual machines. I have a day job as an Engineer, and this website is one of my favorite past time activities, especially during Winter ;). When I'm not writing for FOSSLinux, I'm seen biking and hiking on scenic trails. I hope you enjoy using this website as much as I do writing for it. Feedback from readers is something that inspires me to do more and spread Linux love!. If you find a time, drop me an email or feedback from the 'Contact' page. Or simply leave a comment below if you found this article useful. Have a good day!

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