Apple Alerts Users to Security Flaws in iPhones, iPads, Macs


Two big CPU security flaws have been discovered.

Intel says it has already issued updates for the majority of its processor products released in the last five years. Apple confirmed yesterday that all of their devices are also vulnerable to chip flaws called 'Spectre' and 'Meltdown' and that mitigations are on the way to combat the issue. Only a "small number" of products conflict with the patch, the company said, though it did not name names.

"We are actively incorporating and deploying mitigations against the vulnerabilities for our impacted products, and we continue to work to strengthen them as possible", a spokesperson told CNBC in an email. "But it's not going to stop there".

Spectre affects all modern processors and while it is more hard to exploit, it is also more hard to defend against. People with Google-supported Android phones including Nexus and Pixel devices will get that update, but others will have to wait for security updates from their manufacturers.

Intel and Google both said that they are working on the issue and might release the fix for this bug next week. "Intel is committed to responsible disclosure".

Furthermore, Apple is continuing to develop Spectre mitigations within its operating systems and will release them in upcoming iOS, macOS, and tvOS updates. To update the Mac system, open the App Store app and check the Updates tab for the latest software. It was noted that there are no known exploits impacting customers at the time.

"Brian's sale is unrelated", said Intel in a statement.

"Contrary to some initial reporting, this is NOT just an Intel bug, it affects AMD and ARM processors as well".

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Google said in a blog post Wednesday that its popular web browser Chrome, its cloud services and other applications have or will soon be updated to protect against the newly disclosed vulnerabilities.

Windows users should be aware that third-party anti-virus software may need to be updated before applying operating system patches. You can then head to System, then System Update to download the latest update if you haven't done so already. Another variant of Spectre, the company said, has "a near zero risk of exploitation" on its processors.

PCs also require additional hardware protection, so companies will be issuing firmware updates.

On Thursday, Intel's stock closed down 1.8 percent to $44.43 a share. This time, the security threat is within the hardware - more specifically, the microchip.

Companies like Apple and Microsoft are rolling out fixes to protect against Spectre and Meltdown, two major flaws found in most computer chips that affect processors.

"It's a positive thing that we have independent verification - researchers looking for vulnerabilities", Daly said.

And, Shadow Brokers is purportedly offering the first exploits for the issues, which, as we previously reported, can be described as "side channel" attacks which allow attackers to steal passwords, customer data, IP and more stored in the memory of programs running on a victim's machine.