emfizz.com January 17, 2018

Meltdown, Specter bugs: Apple iPhones, ipad, Macs at risk

05 January 2018, 12:40 | Bernard Bryant

Meltdown, Specter bugs: Apple iPhones, ipad, Macs at risk

Before patches

It said that it had already issued "mitigations" against the risks of Meltdown, which affects Intel chips, so customers who download the latest software updates for their devices should be safe. Then Google's Project Zero team, which tracks down zero-day vulnerabilities on computer systems, reported that the flaw impacts almost all modern processors.

Apple simply distributed another help archive clarifying that iOS and macOS could be assaulted by the newfound (and exceptionally risky) Meltdown and Specter misuses.

"Intel has already issued updates for the majority of processor products introduced within the past five years", an Intel spokesperson said.

Researchers said nearly every computing system - desktops, laptops, smartphones, and cloud servers - is affected by the Spectre bug.

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In an announcement Thursday, Apple said it has released patches to defend against Meltdown in iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2. 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.

"Since exploiting many of these issues requires a malicious app to be loaded on your Mac or iOS device, we recommend downloading software only from trusted sources such as the App Store", the company adds. The company pledged to issue updates to the Safari web browser in the coming days "to help mitigate against Spectre", which affects processors from Intel and nearly all suppliers, including AMD and Arm Holdings. "We proceed to create and test encourage alleviations for these issues and will discharge them in up and coming updates of iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS", the article states. Speculative execution improves speed by operating on multiple instructions at once-possibly in a different order than when they entered the CPU. If the prediction was wrong, this speculative execution is rolled back in a way that is meant to be invisible to software.

The good news is that "there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time", and a fix could come soon, according to Apple. 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.

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