Early in January 2018 news hit the technology sector that researchers had discovered vulnerabilities that basically impacted all computers in the market place today. 

They were given the names Meltdown and Spectre. While Meltdown is specific to Intel processors, Spectre impacts all. 

Both take advantage of the way the chips execute code to guess the next instruction. Guess right and the processing is accelerated which we experience as speed.

To make matters worst the speed at which the whole industry has had to respond meant internal testing and testing with others had to be accelerated. This drove out other issues like Anti-Virus performing undocumented solutions and some vendor documentation was outright wrong. 

This has resulted in a number of false starts at all levels. While most have been an inconvenience some have resulted in machines not being able to boot or machines that randomly reboot without warning. 

It is also expected that older devices may experience some permanent slow downs once all the fixes are in place.

To completely eliminate the vulnerabilities fixes are required at the hardware level, the Operating System and the products.

Hardware fixes are not expected for those machines older than five years so it will be absolutely necessary to have your OS and products patched to reduce exposure. 

Most modern browsers, Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Edge are patched as are the supported Operating Systems like Windows 10 and High Sierra. That said you have to apply the updates which is something you should always be doing.

The hardware fixes, which is the installation of new firmware (BIOS), should not be undertaken without understanding the risks. Intel issued new firmware however has since pulled it back and advised people not to update.

The Internet is awash in articles, here are two.

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/01/meltdown-and-spectre-every-modern-processor-has-unfixable-security-flaws/

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/01/spectre-and-meltdown-patches-causing-trouble-as-realistic-attacks-get-closer/