A number of serious security vulnerabilities, collectively known under the names of “Meltdown” and “Spectre” , have recently been discovered in a broad range of CPUs from Intel, ARM and AMD (some up to 20 years old) that are commonly used in servers, PCs and even mobile devices.
Workarounds for some of the vulnerabilities are being introduced into operating systems, hypervisors, web browsers and other software, while the CPU manufacturers rush to fix their chips. Cloud service
providers are also rolling out these workarounds in their infrastructure. However, not all the vulnerabilities can be fully mitigated in software, although fortunately these are the least easy to exploit. As always, the best advice is to keep all your software patched up-to-date.
One of the main concerns is that sensitive data used by some applications could be stolen - in the worst case, this could be private (asymmetric) or secret (symmetric) cryptographic keys. Such keys have a high value as, once exposed, security mechanisms such as encryption, authentication and integrity protection are broken. This in turn can have many serious impacts, such as large-scale data breaches and falsified transactions.
However, if you must store private / secret keys on a PC or server, then you should follow these rules: