Essentially, all Intel-powered computers are affected by the Spectre or Meltdown vulnerability, but due to their less popularity, Linux computers don’t get much mainstream attention. At least when compared to the attention Windows and macOS are getting.
If you are a die-hard Linux fan, you have probably come across various tools released to check on whether a computer is affected by the Spectre or Meltdown vulnerability or not (such as the Ashampoo Spectre Meltdown CPU Checker we covered last week). However, there are not as many releases of such tools for the Linux computer front.
There is a new script published at GitHub that will help you establish whether your Linux distribution is vulnerable or not. To know whether your Linux computer is vulnerable to the two variants of Spectre or Meltdown.
Check the official GitHub project page, and you will get the source code giving you the chance to analyze it before actually installing it. The script can be run without parameters to check the on the kernel or you can use options that check on a kernel that is not being used.
“A simple shell script to tell if your Linux installation is vulnerable against the 3 ‘speculative execution’ CVEs that were made public early 2018.
without options, it’ll inspect your currently running kernel. You can also specify a kernel image on the command line if you’d like to inspect a kernel you’re not running.”
How it works
Step #1 – Open Terminal on the Linux system that you want to check
Step #2 – Type cd/tmp/
Step #3 – Type wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/speed47/spectre-meltdown-checker/master/spectre-meltdown-checker.sh. Doing so downloads the script from GitHub server.
Step #4 – Type sudo sh spectre-meltdown-checker.sh. It will run the script using elevated privileges.
Step #5 – Type the password
From there, the script will check each variant of the vulnerability individually, and give you a report of its findings. If if the report you get status: vulnerable, your system is certainly vulnerable to any or all of the variants. Meaning your system is in need of a kernel update to protect you from possible attacks through exploits of the vulnerabilities.
As to how (or if) you will get the kernel update entirely depends on the type of Linux distribution you are using. If you are using Linux Mint go to Menu > Administration > Update Manager. If you get the update and you install it, rerun the script just to verify that your system is no longer vulnerable.