The disclosure of the Meltdown and Spectre computer vulnerabilities on January 2, 2018 was in many ways unprecedented. It shocked – and scared – even the experts. The vulnerabilities bypass traditional security measures in the computer and affect billions of devices, from mobile phones to massive cloud servers.
We have, unfortunately, grown used to attacks on computer systems that exploit the inevitable flaws resulting from vast conceptual complexity. Our computer systems are the most complex artefacts humans have ever built, and the growth of complexity has far outstripped our ability to manage it.