Your iPhones, iPads and MacBooks are vulnerable to hackers, Apple warns

Delia Watkins
January 5, 2018

Apple has warned owners of its iPhones, iPads and computers that the devices are affected by a processor flaw that could leave them vulnerable to hackers.

So what should Apple users do?

There's no evidence that bad actors have yet exploited the bugs, but companies from Microsoft to Mozilla said they have worked to patch up vulnerabilities to their operating systems.

Apple said the Apple Watch would not be affected by Meltdown and that mitigations had already been applied to the following device OS releases: OS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2.

Apple said it will release an update for its web browser, Safari, in the next few days.

But it's still working on other fixes that users should look out for.

"Our testing with public benchmarks has shown that the changes in the December 2017 updates resulted in no measurable reduction in the performance of macOS and iOS", the company said in its blog post.

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"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.

Like other big tech companies that are scrambling to deal with the problem, Apple sought also to reassure users.

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.

Two bugs - Meltdown and Spectre - have been identified which could now leak your sensitive data like passwords, photos, business documents to hackers thanks to "design flaws" in their manufacture. Data is supposed to be protected and isolated, but researchers discovered that in some cases, the information can be exposed while the processor queues it up.

While the tech world continues to work on and reassure on the chip flaw that likely affects most computer-related tech in use around the world, Apple is also celebrating record App store sales. Meltdown appears to be specific to chips made by Intel.

The experts have advised users to keep their computers and smart devices up to date.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Honan said "there's the potential that applying the patches could impact the performance of the machines", noting that older machines or those already under a lot of pressure may be particularly affected.

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