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Apple: Mac And iOS Vulnerable To Meltdown And Spectre Flaws
05 January 2018, 11:41 | Cedric Leonard
Hardware fixes are by nature much slower and more difficult than software fixes. tcareob72/Thinkstock
It was inevitable that devices made by Californian giant Apple would also succumb to the CPU vulnerabilities striking terror across the tech world.
The issues - Spectre and Meltdown - are flaws in computer chips which could, in theory, allow hackers to steal data from affected systems. Then Google's Project Zero team, which tracks down zero-day vulnerabilities on computer systems, reported that the flaw impacts almost all modern processors. Because these processors and their architecture is commonly used on almost on smartphones, laptops, computers, etc it means every single known device is vulnerable to these exploits.
Apple says it as of now discharged "alleviations" in iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2 to help safeguard against Meltdown.
Apple'sstatement also said there are no known exploits now impacting customers.
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.
On Wednesday, Alphabet Inc's Google and other security researchers disclosed two major chip flaws, one called Meltdown affecting only Intel Corp chips and one called Spectre affecting almost all computer chips made in the last decade.
Google and Microsoft have already issued statements telling users which products are affected by the bugs. In the coming days we plan to release mitigations in Safari to help defend against Spectre. "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. Ben Johnson, co-founder and chief strategist for cyber security firm Carbon Black, said the delay in updating customers about whether Apple's devices are at risk could affect Apple's drive to get more business customers to adopt its hardware.
While initial coverage of the Meltdown vulnerability said that fixes could bring hits to performance, Apple says that neither macOS nor iOS suffer from a "measurable reduction in performance" in benchmarking or in web browsing testing. The company has also issued updates on iOS, MacOS, tvOS to protect customers against these flaws.
The exploits were discovered by Google's Project Zero team last June and the entire tech industry was about to embark on a coordinated response that would go public on 9 January.
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