Apple confirms iOS and macOS are vulnerable to 'Meltdown' and 'Specter'

Apple confirms iOS and macOS are vulnerable to 'Meltdown' and 'Specter'

Security researchers have recently uncovered security issues known by two names, Meltdown and Spectre.

Meltdown and Spectre are what are known as exploits, vulnerabilities or weaknesses, even though they are being reported widely as bugs or flaws on central processing units (CPUs), the computer chips at the heart of every PC or smartphone.

According to media reports and statements issued by cybersecurity experts, the hardware bugs could allow malicious software installed on the devices to get access to the information without responding to the operating systems that should prevent such software from doing this. "Analysis of these techniques revealed that while they are extremely hard to exploit, even by an app running locally on a Mac or iOS device, they can be potentially exploited in JavaScript running in a web browser", Apple said.

The Cupertino, California-based company said recent software updates for iPads, iPhones, iPod touches, Mac desktops and laptops, and the Apple TV set-top-box mitigate one of the vulnerabilities known as Meltdown.

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Yesterday, we told you about a pair of exploits called Meltdown and Spectre. Apple notes, however, that Spectre can be exploited in JavaScript running in a web browser. Microsoft has already rolled out "patches" to protect many PC users.

Known as "Spectre" and "Meltdown", the issues "apply to all modern processors and affect almost all computing devices and operating systems", Apple said in a press release. While that attack is thought to be more difficult to pull off, it's also harder to guard against, and Apple Watch is as vulnerable to it as the rest of Apple's product line.

Apple says none of the security fixes it's discharged have caused quantifiable performance diminishes in Apple gadgets, and it doesn't anticipate that future patches will do as such either. "We continue to develop and test further mitigations for these issues and will release them in upcoming updates of iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS", reads the statement. In the coming days we plan to release mitigations in Safari to help defend against Spectre.

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