Finance

Apple confirms iOS and macOS are vulnerable to 'Meltdown' and 'Specter'

Apple confirms iOS and macOS are vulnerable to 'Meltdown' and 'Specter'

Spectre is an exploit that breaks the isolation between different applications on chips from Intel, AMD and ARM, and potentially allows hackers to "trick" error-free programmes that normally follow best practices into "leaking" their secrets.

The security vulnerabilities apply to all modern computer processors and affect almost all computers and smartphones, leaving tech companies scrambling to find a fix.

"All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time", the tech giant said. These issues apply to all modern processors and affect almost all computing devices and operating systems.

Apple has admitted that a pair of security vulnerabilities in processors affect "nearly all" iOS devices and Mac computers. The Cupertino-based technology giant added that to actually exploit these vulnerabilities and carry out an attack will require that a malicious app be loaded onto the particular Mac or iOS device.

The tech development expert has said the Apple watch isn't affected by Meltdown and that it has already released updates to protect other products from that problem.

Patches against Spectre, in the form of an update to web browser Safari, will be released "in the coming days".

It said the AppleWatch is not affected by Spectre.

Furthermore, the company says that it has already released patches in iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2 to address the Meltdown vulnerabilities.

Even so, as Devin Coldewey reports for Techcrunch: "If you're wondering why people keep saying, "mitigate" instead of "fix" or "counteract" or something, it's because Meltdown and Spectre take advantage of computing practices so basic that avoiding them is extremely hard and complex".

Apple explains that Meltdown "has the the most potential to be exploited", while Spectre is "extremely difficult" to exploit. With Safari and virtually all other popular browsers not patched, hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users may have no secure means of browsing the web until Apple issues its patch. Apple will release an update for Safari on macOS and iOS in the coming days to mitigate these exploit techniques. We continue to develop and test further mitigations within the operating system for the Spectre techniques, and will release them in upcoming updates of iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS.


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