Gibson Research Releases InSpectre


InSpectre

InSpectre is another Windows utility you can use to check the status of your system in regard to the recent Meltdown and Spectre threats which take advantage of common CPU design flaws.

InSpectre has a few advantages over many of these types of utilities in that it can enable, or disable, the “fixes” which have been foisted upon us by Microsoft. I do not recommend disabling these updates, though.

Note: To enable these features, you will have to run this utility with Admin Privileges. (Right-click and choose Run as administrator.)

InSpectre Main Screen

inspectre-main-screen

Upon running InSpectre, it immediately displays a screen showing you if your system is vulnerable. It also shows you, based on an analysis of your computer, if you will suffer a performance penalty by installing these patches. Newer systems will probably not notice any difference and the biggest performance penalties will probably be suffered by those who are still using the likes of Windows 7 and 8.x.


By scrolling down in the program, you will be advised in more detail about specifics related to your computer.

As usual, Mr. Gibson is meticulous, and this tiny utility is no exception. The beauty of Steve’s work (I’ll call him ‘Steve’ and hope he won’t mind the familiarity), is that he comes from the days when RAM and drive space were a premium commodity. Just about anything you install these days is at the very least hovering around 1MB in size. This little program is roughly 122KB! Talk about lack of bloat! I am constantly impressed with how much bang he can pack into a tiny package. His programs are all written in Assembly language and are, therefore, compact and as fast as they can be.

InSpectre is free and does not require any installation. Simply download it and run it. It is blazing fast and will offer its information in under a second.

How To Get It

Go to this GRC InSpectre page to get your free copy. I see there is now a release #4, but do not see the reasons for the latest releases after #2. Never fear, Steve will be on top of that in no time.


An aside: While you are visiting his site, be sure to check around for an immense amount of security information straight from the expert’s mouth. And free programs, too! Here is the GRC Home Page link.

When it comes to computer-related security, there is no better source than Steve Gibson, in my humble opinion. I have been a fan for many years.

Richard


About the Author

Richard Pedersen

Richard received his first computer, a C-64, in 1982 as a gift and began dabbling in BASIC. He was hooked! His love for computing has led him from the old “XT” boxes to the more modern fare and from clunky 10MB hard drives to smooth and fast modern day SSD drives. He has run BBS services, Fido mail, and even operated his own computer repair business.

9 Comments

  1. Hi Richard
    Ran this on my W8.1 and W10 system, both checked OK for Meltdown, but not for Spectre. Not really surprised with the results.
    If I understand Spectre will or will need to be patched by a Bios update from Intel, since I am running a Intel Pentium Dual Core and a Intel I5. I for one do not believe Intel will ever release Bios updates for older processors.
    Sure would like to know what you really think about Spectre and if their is any truth about any of the garbage talk that is on the internet.

    • Hi Daniel,

      According to Steve Gibson, the reactions and particularly the resulting lawsuits, are based on overblown rantings by the excitable. At least, that’s the gist of it.

      Although it is true that these flaws exist, Steve says it is unlikely the casual user will be hit by this. That is not to say it should be totally ignored, however.

      All we can do at this point is keep our computers updated and hope that BIOS firmware upgrades are in the works. We must keep our eyes open. You shouldn’t hold your breath on this last one, though. I have an older AsRock motherboard and its BIOS hasn’t seen a firmware upgrade in eons.

      Besides, upgrading BIOS firmware is a tricky business and is not usually recommended unless the new version provides a distinct benefit that you just can’t live without. In this case, however, I think malware protection would be a proper justification for doing so.

      This is a hardware-level error and cannot be fixed with a software patch. My guess is that people like myself, with older motherboards, are probably out of luck on this one.

      Who knows? They may surprise me,
      Richard

      Here’s a link to the latest Security Now video. Steve discusses Meltdown and Spectre, and also his InSpectre utility.

  2. I’ve been a fan of Steve Gibson’s for many years. Though everyone should know that Steve is tweaking his InSpectre. Just downloaded release 5, Mindblower!

    • And fast, too! When I was putting this post together, I had #2. Before it was published, #4 had been released. And now there’s a #5 you say?! Wow… I’ll have to see what’s new.

      Thanks for the tip!

  3. Thanks Richard,
    I have followed Steve Gibson also for many years, one of the best in computer technology and producing great programmes.

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