All Macs, iOS devices affected by chip security flaws - Apple warns

Jan 05, 2018, 12:27
All Macs, iOS devices affected by chip security flaws - Apple warns

"All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time", the tech giant said.

Nearly all the devices with chips produced in the two recent decades are believed to be affected by Meltdown and Spectre.

It also advised all users to download software only from trusted sources and avoid malicious apps.

Despite concern that fixes may slow down devices, Apple said its steps to address the Meltdown issue haven't dented performance.

Analysis of these techniques revealed that while they are extremely hard to exploit, even by an app running locally on a Mac or iOS device, they can be potentially exploited in JavaScript running in a web browser.

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Companies scrambled yesterday (Jan. 3) to release patches for Windows and Android devices, with speculation mounting that the flaws, which apply to most modern processors, impacted Apple's devices, too.

APPLE HAS CONFIRMED that all Mac and iOS devices are affected by the Meltdown and Spectre security flaws, that experts say could allow hackers to access sensitive data.

Apple said there are no known exploits for the vulnerabilities and said the iOS and MacOS updates "resulted in no measurable reduction in the performance of macOS and iOS" as measured by various benchmark tests.

Current updates to macOS and iOS protect against Meltdown, and Apple is working on providing better protections against Spectre.

Apple is continuously developing and testing various mitigations and will release new updates further in all iOS, macOS and tvOS to tackle the situation.

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"In the coming days we plan to release mitigations in Safari to help defend against Spectre", the iPhone maker explained.

The vulnerabilities - which exist at a hardware level - put the onus on system creators such as Apple, Microsoft and Google to release patches at an operating system level to prevent hackers from exploiting the opportunity to steal passwords, credit card numbers and other vital details.

Spectre and Meltdown are serious vulnerabilities that take advantage of the speculative execution mechanism of a CPU.

The circumstances that could lead to using the Spectre vulnerability might be a bit more hard to achieve but can still be done using Javascript running on a web browser.

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