Apple loyalists love the company because of the assumed safety net that their iPhones, Ipads, and Macs are “less vulnerable to security issues.” 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.
It’s always something with these devices now. So what exactly is Spectre and Meltdown and how can they affect my Apple device? Meltdown and Spectre take advantage of a modern CPU feature called “speculative execution” which helps improve speed by operating on multiple instructions at once. Spectre and Meltdown attack or abuse speculative execution and gain access to privileged information like your passwords. Apple says the only way these two exploitations can get on your device is by downloading “malicious apps” from untrustworthy sites.
Basically, if it is not downloaded from the App Store there is a good chance it can infect your device.
So how do you keep your devices safe? In their announcement, Apple says they have already released some mitigations for iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2 to help defend against Meltdown. If you own an Apple Watch no need to worry your, Meltdown will not affect it. Apple also says they will be releasing mitigations for Safari to help defend against Spectre in the coming days. Apple does point out that “there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time,”.
Apple isn’t the only company worrying about Spectre and Meltdown. Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are also scrambling to roll out patches to combat the exploitations. Researchers point out that almost every computer system is vulnerable to Spectre and that includes Desktops, smartphones, laptops and cloud networks. Meltdown seems to only focus on chips made by Intel so that’s also basically everything.
Clutches iPhone and laptop.
Experts do add that the fixes will slow down performance on a computer especially devices that are over 5-years-old. Intel adds that average users using the processors from the last five years “should not be significant and will be mitigated over time.”
Sighs seem like we damned if we do and damned if we don’t but for the sake of keeping our phones from being hacked and our business out of these electronic streets we’re gonna have to bite the bullet on this. 2018 is not starting off good for the tech industry at all.
Photo: ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images