If you launch an instance from the official CentOS or RHEL 7.x AMI on AWS, you will be running kernel 3.1 as of this writing. That’s not a good idea. You can easily take advantage of improved security features of newer kernels that are already available in a stable release. The renowned Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman released the Linux Kernel 4.14.15, which includes important fixes for Spectre & Meltdown. Here is how to update your Linux kernel from 3.1 to 4.16.11 in place.