By now you’ve likely heard of the latest big exploit that is making the news that effects the actual CPU in most PCs built since the late nineties. It’s very wide-ranging, and scary, but at the very least we can confirm to you that the Raspberry Pi is immune to the exploit according to its co-creator Eben Upton.
Here you go: We do not believe any generation of Raspberry Pi hardware is susceptible to either the Spectre or Meltdown vulnerabilities.
— Eben Upton (@EbenUpton) January 4, 2018
Very basically, the Meltdown and Spectre exploit takes advantage of the way some processors try and guess what your next calculation will be to then read the memory in your system. This can contain personal and private data, including passwords, and is relatively easy to pull off. It’s a bit tricky to explain as it involves some seriously niche, low-level computing stuff that the vast majority of people would never have to come across – however unfortunately, that does not make it any less dangerous. Eben goes into it in detail on the Raspberry Pi blog post about it.
So while your PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone may be compromised by it, you can stay safe in the knowledge that the Raspberry Pi is not affected. A small comfort for now while patches are rolled out but at least you now know which computer in your house is the most secure for online banking.
If you are thinking about temporarily switching to the Raspberry Pi as a more secure desktop, we did recently have a feature where we tasked features editor Rob to use a Raspberry Pi as his desktop PC for a week. There’s some great tips in there that should help you set up your Pi as a desktop!