All iOS and Mac devices affected by Meltdown and Spectre, Apple confirms

David Stuart

Apple said it had already released "mitigations" against Meltdown in its latest iPhones and iPad operating system update - iOS 11.2 and the macOS 10.13.2 for its MacBooks and iMacs.

Apple has said that all iPhones, iPads and Mac computers are affected by two major flaws in computer chips. Then Google's Project Zero team, which tracks down zero-day vulnerabilities on computer systems, reported that the flaw impacts almost all modern processors.

In a blogpost, Apple said it had released updates for iOS, the software on its phones and tablets, macOS, which is used by its computers and tvOS for its television products. Apple is also working on patches and updates to defend against Spectre and will release them as and when they're ready.

It may well be true that the average users will not see much of a difference on their home computer, but the impact of Meltdown and Spectre is much more widespread than that. Now Apple has also issued a statement on the same saying all Macs and iOS devices are impacted by this security flaw.

The company said that since exploiting many of these issues requires a malicious app to be loaded onto the Mac or iOS device, people are being asked to only download software from trusted sources such as the App Store.

"All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time", Apple said in blog post on the issue.

Here's the issue: Modern processors are created to perform something called "speculative execution" to enhance performance.

Macs and iOS devices are vulnerable to Spectre attacks through code that can run in web browsers including Apple's own Safari.

Meltdown concerns laptops, desktop computers and internet servers that have Intel chips, and allows a rogue programme to access the memory and other secrets of programs and the operating system contained in the CPU. As we told you, Google's Android Security patch for January will help protect Android users from having passwords held in a browser, or in a password manager, stolen by a nameless, faceless hacker.

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. 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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