Meltdown and Spectre security flaws forces tech companies to release updates

Two recently detected security flaws currently named “Meltdown” and “Spectre” are causing Apple, Microsoft, Google, Intel, and others to release security updates to fix any potential problem.  The flaws potentially affect all recent computers, smartphones, and tablets that use a CPU performance feature called speculative execution.  There is no evidence that the flaws have been exploited at this time.  The general recommendation is to download updates for all devices.

Current Apple products may have the security flaws with the exception of the Apple Watch.  Apple is continuing to work on updates and released a statement at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208394.

Microsoft issued guidance for Windows users, SQL Server, Windows Server, and has updated most of its Azure infrastructure and will continue to do so.  Security update KB4056890 also updates Internet Explorer and Edge browsers.   Microsoft also issued update KB4056892 for various Windows versions but notes that some AMD processor machines to stop working after installing it.

Google recommended that Chrome users should turn on site isolation.  Google also responded with these blog posts:
https://support.google.com/faqs/answer/7622138
https://googleprojectzero.blogspot.com/2018/01/reading-privileged-memory-with-side.html

Mozilla is working on updates and a fix is available in Firefox 57.0.4 version.

Amazon has updated its servers already and will continue to do so.

Intel released a statement as well and is releasing updates.  It also reported some systems rebooted more frequently after the updatesAMD also released a statement on their CPUs and speculative execution.

Oracle issued updates for MySQL, Java, PeopleSoft and other products that it maintains.

The CERT Vulnerability Notes Database has logged this issue as Vulnerability Note VU#584653.

eWeek reported that Linux 4.15 was released with Meltdown and Spectre patches and that further patches would be made for this issue.

More information can be found at https://spectreattack.com.

SQL Server 2017 on Linux

SQL Server 2017 is available to run on Linux.   This makes SQL Server a viable database competitor to Oracle on Unix-based operating systems.   More information about SQL Server on Linux can be found at these links:

SQL Operations Studio – Preview edition

Microsoft has announced the Preview release of SQL Operations Studio, a free database development and operations tool for SQL Server and Azure SQL Data Warehouse.

This tool allows users to performing routine database tasks without using SQL Server Management Studio. Command-line tools such as Bash, PowerShell, sqlcmd, bcp, and ssh can be run in the Integrated Terminal window.  Customizable dashboards can be created for performance monitoring.

This preview version can be downloaded from https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/sql-operations-studio/download. Versions include Windows, macOS, and Linux.

A document of common questions and answers can be found at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/sql-operations-studio/faq.

New functionality can be added to SQL Operations Studio using extensions.

Additional information and downloads can be found at GitHub – SQL Operations Studio.

Microsoft releases updated set of free Technology e-Books

Microsoft has released an updated set of free Technology e-Books on various subjects.  The full list can be found here.

    Book topics include:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Windows 10 and Windows Server
  • SQL Server
  • Visual Studio
  • Power BI
  • Dynamics CRM
  • Azure
  • PowerShell
  • SharePoint

Microsoft Data Amp – Online Event April 19th 2017 at 8 AM PT

Microsoft Data Amp, a live online event on data and analytics, will start at April 19th 2017 at 8 AM PT (Pacific Time).   The event includes keynote speakers and demos of Azure and other data solutions.

More information is at #MSDataAmp and https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/dataplatforminsider/2017/03/15/introducing-microsoft-data-amp/.

SQL Server Management Studio available as free download

The latest release of SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) is available as a free download from https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-US/library/mt238290.aspx. A SQL Server license is not required.

This version (16.5) is recommended for use with currently supported SQL Server versions 2008 through 2016, as well as cloud features in Azure SQL databases.